Survey of Legionella pneumophila among pneumonia patients at Kenyatta National Hospital
AbstractObjective: To determine the occurrence of L. pneumophila among pneumonia patients at Kenyatta National Hospital and any association with possible risk factors.
Design: A cross- sectional descriptive study.
Setting: The study was conducted from March to June 2007, at the medical ward of Kenyatta National Hospital. Analysis of samples was done at the University of Nairobi Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases (UNITID) serology laboratories.
Subjects: All adult patients who were admitted to the medical ward of the hospital with a provisional diagnosis of pneumonia.
Results: The study indicated that up to 9.2% (11 out of 120) of the pneumonia patients admitted at the hospital were infected with L.pneumophila. At a confidence limit of 0.05, there was statistical significance in the number of pneumonia patients infected with L. pneumophila and exposure to air conditioners (p= 0.003). Twenty two point five eight per cent of patients who were exposed to air conditioners were positive for L. pneumophila urinary antigen. There was a statistical significance between exposure to air conditioners and location of work area (p= 0.001)). Thirty eight point four six per cent of those who worked indoors were exposed to air conditioners at their places of work. There was also statistical significance in the number of pneumonia patients infected with L. pneumophila and a history of a past or concurrent respiratory illness (p= 0.021).
Conclusion: Exposure to air conditioners and a history of past or concurrent respiratory illness were found to predispose one to infection. This should raise the index of suspicion among clinicians as they obtain a patient’s medical history. Most of those exposed to air conditioners are exposed at their places of work in urban centres, hence the need for health education and public awareness on routine inspection and maintenance of such facilities. There is need for a larger multi-centre study on the prevalence of infection by L. pneumophila in pneumonia patients (both community acquired and nosocomial), existence of co- infection and the antibiotic susceptibility of isolated organisms.