Domestically Acquired Legionnaires' Disease: Two Case Reports and a Review of the Pertinent Literature
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Background: Legionella species may colonize in home water systems and cause Legionnaires' disease (LD). We herein report two cases of sporadic LD associated with the solar energy-heated hot water systems of the patients' houses. Case Report: A 60-year-old woman with chronic bronchitis and diabetes mellitus presented with a high fever, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Physical examination revealed rales, and her chest radiograph showed a homogeneous density in the left lung. The Legionella urinary antigen test was positive, and an indirect fluorescent antibody test revealed a serum antibody titer of 1/520 for L. pneumophila serogroup 1. In the second case, a 66-year-old man with diabetes mellitus was treated for pneumonia at another hospital. After the patient's general condition worsened and he required mechanical ventilation, he was referred to our hospital. The Legionella urinary antigen test was positive. Neither of the patients had been hospitalized or travelled within the previous month. Both patients used hot water storage tanks heated by solar energy; both also used an electrical device in the bathroom to heat the water when solar energy alone was insufficient. The hot water samples from the residences of both patients were positive for L. pneumophila serogroup 1. Conclusion: These cases show that domestic hot water systems heated by solar energy must be considered a possible source of community-acquired LD.