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Legionnaire's disease in Spain (Barcelona area)

19 Nov 2021

Public health authories in the Barcelona area are investigating an outbreak of Legionnaire's disease. From 5 to 18 November 2021, 26 cases have been detected. Sixteen cases have been admitted to hospital. All were exposed in the municipalities of Montmeló or Montornès del Vallès. The source of the infection is unclear, but the possible involvement of industrial water cooling towers is being investigated.

Legionnaire's disease is caused by bacteria. It is spread by breathing in bacteria in water spray or tiny water droplets in the air. Outbreaks have been linked to heating or cooling systems, hot tubs, fountains and swimming pools

The risk from the infection is greatest to smokers, the elderly, people with a chronic lung condition and those with a weakened immune system. There is no vaccine against Legionnaires' disease.

Advice to travellers

If you are travelling to the Barcelona area you should be made aware of the current outbreak, how the infection is caught and the symptoms of infection.

  • You should flush through showers with hot water in your accommodation if they have not been used recently and before you use them for the first time.
  • You should seek medical advice quickly if you develop a flu-like illness with fever, cough or shortness of breath during your stay or for up to two weeks after return home. You should inform the healthcare professional you may have been exposed to Legionnaires' disease and mention the area you visited.

For further information see Legionnaires' Disease.