HAARLEM, THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch doctors report six cases of Legionnaire's
disease linked to a sauna which was found to harbour Legionella
pneumophila bacteria. Suspicion arose when a 64-year-old man was admitted
to hospital with pneumonia in January 1996. The man had developed flu-like
symptoms five days after visiting a sauna and a culture of his bronchial fluid
tested positive for L pneumophila. Analysis of water samples from
various spots in and around the sauna found L pneumophila in a footbath.
A further survey of health-surveillance data on Legionnaire's disease uncovered
five more cases, two of which were fatal, among people who had used the sauna.
The genetic profile of the L pneumophila strains found in the patients
were the same as the strain located in the footbath. The sauna's hot water
piping was redesigned to eliminate standing and slow-flowing water. Since then
water samples have tested negative for L pneumophila and no new cases of
Legionnaire's disease have been reported relating to the sauna.