Italy health authorities investigate pneumonia outbreak


Health authorities in northern Italy are investigating whether bacteria — including the one that causes Legionnaires' disease — inhaled from the water supply is behind an outbreak of pneumonia that has afflicted nearly 150 people.

Experts said Monday that a single contamination but spread out over several towns and villages in Brescia was likely responsible since the cases were mostly reported in a short timeframe, not the usual person-to-person transmission that would drag out during a typical outbreak.

At least two of the cases reportedly involved victims with Legionnaire's disease — a severe form of pneumonia that is usually caused by inhaling droplets from a contaminated water source such as air conditioning systems or cooling towers. Pneumonia is typically caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi and is spread by airborne droplets. It is usually treated with antibiotics.

Brescia prosecutors on Monday opened an investigation, the ANSA news agency reported.

The Brescia public health authority issued an advisory over the weekend for residents to take basic precautions, such as changing water filters or letting water flow for some time before using it.

But the notice stressed that the water in the nine hardest hit towns and villages — many located along rivers and streams — was safe to drink. Officials were taking water samples and conducting an epidemiological investigation, the results of which were expected in a few days.

News reports say some 150 people in Brescia had come down with pneumonia, though the head of the city's health authority, Dr. Carmelo Scarcella, said the number of new cases had fallen after the peak hospital admissions were registered Sept. 2-6.

The research director for the health ministry's Superior Institute for Health, Dr. Giovanni Rezza, said he couldn't exclude that Legionnaire's bacteria was to blame.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Health

What cats see when they look in the mirror
What cats see when they look in the mirror

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? Abby, our 16-year old cat, thinks she is. When Abby could no longer jump up on the kitchen counter to eat from her bowl, we searched for a place she could easily reach but Teddy, our Lab, could not. We placed the queen bee’s bowl in front of a large mirror on the master bathroom&rsquo...
Are household disinfectants making kids overweight? Study finds possible link
Are household disinfectants making kids overweight? Study finds possible link

Obesity affects nearly 1 in 6 children in the United States, according to new data from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s State of Obesity report. And new findings from the Canadian Medical Association Journal reveal there may be more contributing to that stat than overeating. Overweight children are approximately five times more...
Seven-Day Menu Planner
Seven-Day Menu Planner

9/23 Family Sunday Enjoy family day with your own Roast Chicken (5 to 7 pounds), mashed potatoes, gravy, peas with pearl onions (from frozen) and mixed greens. For dessert, drizzle creme fraiche or half-and-half over bread pudding. Plan ahead: Save...
Chrissy Teigen says we've been mispronouncing her name this whole time
Chrissy Teigen says we've been mispronouncing her name this whole time

You've probably been pronouncing Chrissy Teigen's last name wrong. We're just as shocked as you are. In a video posted on Teigen's Twitter last night, she dropped the wild news: "I'm tired of living this lie: it's 'Tie-gen,' " she says. "Isn't it, Mom?"          ...
Why this fund-raiser featuring Dayton’s best chefs should be on your radar
Why this fund-raiser featuring Dayton’s best chefs should be on your radar

YELLOW SPRINGS — Last weekend more than 160 people packed into tents in the middle of a nature preserve outside of the Glen Helen Raptor Center on a rainy evening to enjoy the Whoo Cooks for You? benefit. The event started more than seven years ago with a farm to table event that had 40 people attend. As Ann Simonson, project manager at The Glen...
More Stories