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This article is part of the supplement: International Conference on Prevention & Infection Control (ICPIC 2011)

Open Access Poster presentation

The prevalence of environmentral colonization of Legionella in hospital water systems in Taiwan – a 20 hospital surveillance

YE Lin1*, YJ Lin1, HY Shih1 and YS Chen2

  • * Corresponding author: YE Lin

Author Affiliations

1 National Kaohsiung Normal University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, China

2 Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, China

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BMC Proceedings 2011, 5(Suppl 6):P240  doi:10.1186/1753-6561-5-S6-P240

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:29 June 2011

© 2011 Lin et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Introduction / objectives

Legionnaires’ disease is a major cause of hospital and community acquired pneumonia. Hospital-acquired Legionnaires’ disease is directly linked to the presence of Legionella in hospital drinking water. The objective is to systematically investigate the presence of Legionella and its colonization rate in hospital water systems in Taiwan.


Twenty hospitals (Hospitals A to T) throughout Taiwan (8 in northern, 2 in central, 7 in southern, 2 in eastern Taiwan, and one in rural island) were cultured for Legionella. We followed the standardized protocol to perform environmental cultures using (1) water samples; (2) BCYE and DGVP culture media; (3) latex agglutination test (LAX) and direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) technique for L. pneumophila speciation and serotyping. We also perform speciation for L. micdadei since it is implicated in transplant patients.


Among 706 water samples collected during 2009 ~ 2011 period, 21% (149/706) were positive for Legionella. 65% (13/20) of hospital water systems are positive for Legionella; 2 have >30% site positive, 7 are between 10% ~ 30% site positive, and 4 are <10% site positive. L. pneumophila serogroups 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, were isolated from 62% (8/13), 31% (4/13), 8% (1/13), 38% (5/13), and 8% (1/13) of the hospitals, respectively. Five hospitals yielded L. species, but none of them were L. micdadei.


This study allow health official and healthcare professionals for the development of water safety plan to better protect patients and residents of Taiwan in an attempt to prevent Legionnaires’ diseases.

Disclosure of interest

None declared.