Cooling tower outbreaks in the news. What is the explanation?

I am a journalist working for Norwegian TV. In the city of Stavanger in Norway, there has recently been several cases involving Legionella, and investigations conclude that cooling towers most probably are the sources of this outbreak. On this site you write that “cooling towers have long been thought to be a major source for Legionella, but new data suggest that this is an overemphasized mode of transmission”. Do you have any numbers or data on how many times i.e. the last outbreaks have been caused by cooling towers?


Public health authorities downplay the significance of Legionella infections because most originate from drinking water. It is easier to target a cooling tower and harder to discuss with the general public the implications of Legionella in the drinking water. Note that the investigators said “probably.” All you have to do is to ask the investigators “Did you culture the homes of the patients and their workplaces for Legionella?” If they refuse to answer, you will have learned something.


See our recent article Sabria Lancet Infectious Diseases, 2002 on our Home Page.