Is Venice an ideal habitat for Legionella pneumophila?
ABSTRACT Legionella bacterium manifests itself in Legionnaire's disease and Pontiac fever, it is mainly found and transmitted by aerosol produced in cooling towers, water distribution plants and medical equipment, and it affects mainly elder persons in poor health.
The population of Venice Local Health Unit was divided in two areas of study and the incidence of legionellosis in residents of Venice historical centre (Distretto Sanitario 1) and in residents of the mainland and coastal areas (Distretti Sanitari 2, 3, 4) was calculated. The cases were those notified to the Public Health Unit by law, and the population of residents was that of the eligible for health care in the archives of the Local Health Unit. Only cases of legionellosis in residents who had not travelled in the 10 days previous of the onset of disease, and not related to nosocomial clusters were considered. The standardized incidence ratio was then calculated and confidence interval were defined by Poisson distribution.
Given the population of the two areas, 59801 in Distretto Sanitario 1 and 237555 in Distretti 2, 3, 4, the raw incidence of disease is respectively 87 per 100000 and 20 per 100000 in time 2002-2010. The standardized incidence ratio for the population of Distretto Sanitario 1 vs the remaining population is 4.3.
The difference in risk of getting the disease in this two residential areas geographically very close, is probably related to the different buildings' characteristics, old and difficult to maintain in Venice historical centre.