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Infection rate rising.

Legionellosis--one of the oldest "new" infections of the past 30 years--has had a clinical presence for even longer. At one time, legionellosis was often misdiagnosed because of the difficulty in growing the organism in culture. In the 1990's, diagnosis became much easier with the coming of urinary antigen testing.

The number of cases between 1990 and 2002 remained consistent, with about 1,250 cases a year. Between 2003 and 2005, however, that number jumped to about 2,000 cases a year. This reflected an uneven rise in frequency among middle-aged adults, with higher incidences in the northeastern and southern areas of the United States. Both before and after the jump, men in all age groups were more likely than women to acquire the infection. Among the elderly, this gap was even more apparent.

From these data, the patterns of legionellosis are hard to explain, and questions have arisen about the recent increase in cases. It has been suggested that local weather patterns may be related, as hotter summers could lead to more cases.

(Source: Clinical Infectious Diseases, September 2008.)

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Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 22, 2010
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