Prevalence of Legionella strains in cooling towers and legionellosis cases in New Zealand

College of Sciences, Massey University Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand.
Journal of environmental health (Impact Factor: 0.96). 02/2014; 75(6):82-9.
Source: PubMed


Over 3,900 water samples from 688 cooling towers were tested for Legionella in 2008 in New Zealand. Of 80 (2.05% isolation rate) Legionella isolates, 10 (12.5%) were L. pneumophila serogroup 1; 10 (12.5%) were L. anisa; nine (11.2%) were L. pneumophila serogroup 8; and one (1.2%) was L. longbeachae serogroup 2. Forty-one (51.2%) Legionella isolates were L. pneumophila serogroups. Over 3,990 water samples from 606 cooling towers were tested for Legionella in 2009 in New Zealand. Of 51 (1.28% isolation rate) Legionella isolates, 18 (35.3%) were L. pneumophila serogroup 1, and 39 (76.4%) were other L. pneumophila serogroups. L. pneumophila serogroups were significantly associated with legionellosis cases in 2008 and 2009. L. longbeachae serogroups were equally significantly associated with legionellosis cases. This significant association of L. longbeachae with legionellosis particularly of L. longbeachae serogroup 1 is unique in that part of the world. The authors' study also showed that the aqueous environment of the cooling tower is not a natural habitat for pathogenic L. longbeachae. Regular monitoring and maintenance of cooling towers have prevented outbreaks of legionellosis.

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    ABSTRACT: Chlorine and thermal treatments are the most commonly used procedures to control and prevent Legionella proliferation in drinking water systems of large buildings. However, cases of legionellosis still occur in facilities with treated water. The purpose of this work was to model the effect of temperature and free chlorine applied in similar exposure conditions as in drinking water systems on five Legionella spp. strains and two amoebal strains of the genera Acanthamoeba. Inactivation models obtained were used to determine the effectiveness of the treatments applied which resulted more effective against Legionella than Acanthamoeba, especially those in cystic stages. Furthermore, to determine the influence of the relationship between L. pneumophila and Acanthamoeba spp. on the treatment effectiveness , inactivation models of the bacteria-associated amoeba were also constructed and compared to the models obtained for the free living bacteria state. The Legionella-amoeba association did not change the inactivation models, but it reduced the effectiveness of the treatments applied. Remarkably, at the lowest free chlorine concentration, 0.5 mg L-1 , as well as at the lowest temperatures, 50°C and 55°C, the influence of the Legionella-amoeba associate state was the strongest in reducing the effectiveness of the treatments compared to the free Legionella state. Therefore, the association established between L. pneumophila and amoebae in the water systems indicate an increased health risk in proximal areas of the system (close to the tap) where lower free chlorine concentrations and lower temperatures are commonly observed.
    PLoS ONE 08/2015; 10(8). DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0134726 · 3.23 Impact Factor