Legionella makes wellness centres not so healthy spas

The analysis of almost 1500 cases over eight years in the Netherlands identified suspected sources of infection for each patient. Wellness centres were ranked 11th on a list of possible sites, being implicated in just 2% of cases.

However testing at these centres detected Legionella in 85% of cases, making them “remarkably higher” than at sites such as cooling towers (55%), hospitals (50%) and hotels (40%).

A mix of saunas, whirlpools and other health spa facilities was a “Legionella-friendly habitat”, the authors said.

“Wellness centres are not merely the health promoting facilities they are often seen as,” they said.

Euro Surveill 2012, online 23 Feb