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Legionnaires' Disease in Belgium (Flanders)

21 May 2019

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has reported an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the Evergem area of Flanders, Belgium. As of 16 May 2019, there have been 18 cases, including two deaths. Cooling towers in the Ghent canal zone are being investigated as a possible source of infection.

Advice to travellers

The risk to most travellers is considered to be low. Travellers to outbreak areas are advised to seek prompt medical advice if they develop an influenza-like illness with fever, cough or shortness of breath during their stay or up to two weeks after return home. They should ask the healthcare professional about Legionnaires' disease and say where they have been.

Legionnaires' disease is more dangerous to people with underlying medical conditions. Travelers staying in poorly maintained hotel/apartment accommodation may be at higher risk. Flushing through showers in hotels or institutions with hot water when they have not been used recently may help.

For further information see Legionnaires' Disease.