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Vosges: two patients die of legionellosis contracted in hospital

Two patients in a Vosges hospital died at the end of March from Legionnaires' disease contracted in the establishment, we learned on Wednesday from the Grand Est Regional Health Agency (ARS) and the hospital, which have launched a “comprehensive audit of the water network”.

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Vosges: two patients die of legionellosis contracted in hospital

Two patients in a Vosges hospital died at the end of March from Legionnaires' disease contracted in the establishment, we learned on Wednesday from the Grand Est Regional Health Agency (ARS) and the hospital, which have launched a “comprehensive audit of the water network”. “A patient (from the follow-up care and rehabilitation service, SSR) and a resident of the nursing home at Val du Madon hospital in Mattaincourt contracted nosocomial legionellosis and died on March 20 and 21 respectively,” indicate the ARS and the hospital in a press release sent to AFP, without specifying the age and sex of these two people.

“As soon as the cases were identified, the establishment implemented precautionary measures to ensure the safety of patients” of the two entities, in particular “the installation of anti-legionella filters on the showers”, they explain. “No other patients or residents have contracted the disease,” it was added.

A lung infection caused by water bacteria called legionella (Legionella pneumophila), legionella is contracted “via the respiratory route by inhalation of contaminated water released in the form of microdroplets or aerosols, during showers for example” , according to the same source. The first symptoms of the respiratory form resemble the flu, sometimes with abdominal pain or neurological problems. In the absence of treatment, the disease can develop into irreversible respiratory failure and cause acute renal failure, which is often fatal, indicates the Institut Pasteur website.

The ARS therefore “initiated an environmental medical investigation in order to determine the origin of the contamination and to analyze the control of the domestic hot water production and distribution installations in the main building of the establishment with regard to against the risk of proliferation of legionella,” according to the press release. “In addition to the precautionary measures immediately implemented to manage the situation, the frequency of checks has been increased in order to monitor the quality of domestic hot water as closely as possible,” indicate the ARS and the hospital. They insist on the fact that “water quality had always been subject to regular regulatory controls”.

“A complete audit of the water network by a qualified design office is underway in order to diagnose its vulnerability and the preventive measures to be taken in the long term,” it was added, specifying that “the ARS s 'associates with the management of the hospital to present its sincere condolences to the bereaved families'. The Val du Madon hospital is made up of a 323-bed nursing home and a 29-bed SSR.

In 2022, 1,897 cases of Legionnaires' disease were notified in France through the mandatory reporting system, indicates Public Health France. Since 2017, the number of reported cases of Legionnaires' disease has remained high and the lethality has not decreased.

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