An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Lombardy, Italy, which began in early September, has led to the hospitalization of 405 people. Legionella was confirmed in 42 cases. The bacteria is transmitted by inhaling drops of contaminated water, which can be dispersed over several thousand feet from the large industrial cooling towers that are suspected of playing a role in the outbreak. Two people from the town of Brescia have died. Lombardy officials cited large industrial cooling towers as the source.
Legionella was also confirmed in Northern Italy in September when more than 235 people sought emergency treatment for suspected pneumonia and more than 12 cases were linked to legionella exposure.