WHO Watching Legionnaires' Outbreak in Portugal

After 17 cases were identified Nov. 6-7, the Directorate-General for Health of Portugal reported a total of 302 cases of the disease on Nov. 12.

The World Health Organization is tracking a large outreak of Legionnaires' disease in Vila Franca de Xira, a suburban area of Lisbon, after being notified Nov. 9 by the National IHR Focal Point for Portugal. The number of cases rose quickly: After 17 cases were identified Nov. 6-7, the Directorate-General for Health of Portugal reported a total of 302 cases of the disease on Nov. 12, with five deaths confirmed and four additional deaths being investigated.

"All cases have epidemiological links to the outbreak taking place in Vila Franca de Xira," WHO reported. "This is the biggest Legionella disease outbreak detected in Portugal, and it is evolving rapidly; therefore, the outbreak is considered to be a major public health emergency. At present, the regional outbreak investigation team is in place and it is supported by a larger national team of experts in epidemiology, clinical, microbiology and environmental health, with other stakeholders from the municipality following the epidemiological situation and undertaking environmental investigations."

Ornamental fountains in the outbreak area have been closed and the chlorine level of tap water there has been raised; cooling towers of the main industrial facilities in the affected area have been shut down.

The Directorate-General for Health of Portugal has issued these precautionary recommendations to the population until the source of the outbreak has been identified and eliminated:

  • Avoid showers, Jacuzzis, and whirlpools.
  • Disinfect shower heads by immersion in bleach solutions for about 30 minutes once a week.
  • Set the temperature on water heaters above 75ºC if possible.

The Portuguese agency is working closely with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and with WHO on the investigation.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • The Top 5 Safety and Technology Trends to Watch

    Get the latest on trends you can expect to hear more about in 2019, including continued growth of mobile safety applications, wearable technology, and smart PPE; autonomous vehicles; pending OSHA recordkeeping rulemaking; and increased adoption of international safety standard, ISO 45001.

  • Analyze Incident Data

    Collect relevant incident data, analyze trends, and generate accurate regulatory reports, including OSHA 300, 300A, and 301 logs, through IndustrySafe’s extensive incident reporting and investigation module.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common training questions.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - January 2019

    January / February 2019

    Featuring:

    • PREVENTING ERRORS
      Production vs. Safety 
    • EMERGENCY SHOWERS & EYEWASH
      Meeting the Requirements for Emergency Equipment
    • CONSTRUCTION SAFETY
      The State of Contractor Safety
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      The Three Keys to Effective Chemical Management
    View This Issue