Over the past 8-10 years statistics now show there have been an average 300-400 reported cases of Legionnaire's Disease each year, of which there is a 10 – 12% mortality rate. The highest number of legionnaires disease cases over the 2008-2010 period were reported from London and the South East region. The highest incidence rates were in Wales and East and West Midlands
It is widely accepted that the problem is significantly worse than this.
EWGLI (European Working Group Legionella) study cases on a Europe wide basis and support numbers around 10 times higher than this in the UK. To add weight to this argument, recent studies suggest that Legionella could be responsible for up 2 – 3% of Community Acquired Pneumonia (CAP).
CAP records figures for pneumonia type infections caught from people living their day to day lives, there are 150,000 cases of CAP per annum and 98% are never attributed to a cause.
There are a number of reasons for the under reporting of Legionnaire’s Disease, principally because the infection is pneumonia type and the symptoms and treatment are largely the same, unless the doctor has a reason to suspect Legionella a patient will get treated for pneumonia. Secondly it is in fact cheaper to treat with antibiotics than to actually test for evidence of legionellosis.