By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

A Legionella outbreak reported in the town of Schijndel, Brabant province in the southern Netherlands has resulted in more than ten illnesses, many requiring hospitalization, and one fatality.

Legionella pneumophila bacteria/CDC

According to reports, the age of all detected infected persons is between 60 and 90 years.

The Regional Public Health Services (GGD) says the source of the infections has not yet been identified; however, GGD suspects that the source of infection may be outdoors and in the presence of water. 

Therefore, it was decided to close all fountains in the municipality. GGD is also looking for “likely sources”, which could be cooling towers and water treatment systems.

According to the GGD, this is the “tip of the iceberg” and new infections are added every day. Some of the infected people live in institutions of care organization Laverhof, in the center of Schijndel. The organization announces that a legionella infection has been detected in three people.

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The GGD says it is exceptional that there is a legionella outbreak at this time of year. “Normally we usually see these kinds of reports from July to September, but at the beginning of this week there was a striking number of reports from Schijndel,” says Rietveld. “Normally we have about sixty reports per year in our entire area. Then more than ten reports in a municipality is a lot.”

RIVM also emphasizes that an outbreak like this is exceptional. “We don’t often see outbreaks of this order in the Netherlands,” says RIVM epidemiologist Petra Brandsema.

Doctors consider a Legionella infection to be very serious – the chance of death for a sick person is between 5 and 25 percent. Elderly people, people with weakened health or weakened immune systems, and smokers are especially susceptible to pneumonia caused by these bacteria. People under the age of 40 almost never get pneumonia caused by bacteria.