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Health authorities in Lithuania report an outbreak of legionellosis, or Legionnaires’ disease in the Kaunas district.

Image/Robert Herriman

According to the latest data from officials, a total of 24 cases of legionellosis have been confirmed, including 7 deaths.

The latest reported death from LSMU Kaunas Hospital was an individual in the age group of 71-80 years.

From April 26-May 9, water samples were taken from 16 residences of the patients. Answers were received from all residents’ dwellings (in 14 no legionella was detected, in 2 it was detected, and in one of them the amount of legionella exceeded the established norm).


Legionella bacteria are found naturally in freshwater environments, such as lakes and streams. Legionella can become a health concern when it grows and spreads in human-made building water systems such as cooling towers used in air conditioning systems, hot tubs, fountains, and large plumbing systems. Legionnaires’ disease, which is a type of pneumonia, may result when individuals breathe in droplets of water that contain the bacteria. Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, and headaches.

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Most healthy people exposed to Legionella do not get sick. Those at increased risk of getting sick are people age 50 years and older; current or former smokers; people with a chronic lung disease, weak immune systems, or cancer; and people with underlying illnesses such as diabetes, kidney failure, or liver failure.

Between 2016 and 2021, Lithuania reported between 11 and 21 Legionnaires’ disease cases annually to the European Surveillance System, according to the ECDC.