In the past month it appears that there was a spike in mass incidences of Legionnaires Disease events throughout the world. In Spain, in the small town of Manzanares about 100 miles (177 km) south of Madrid with a population of about 19,000, over 200 people have been treated for legionnaires disease while at least three people have died.
The outbreak occurred at the town bus station where there is a decorative fountain right next to the station.
Testing from the University of Valencia has identified the source of the bacteria as the adjacent fountain. Large number of people moving in and out of a bus station next to a legionella infested fountain would certainly create the perfect combination for a potentially larger outbreak.
It is interesting that the number of deaths was not higher. The majority of the people were treated at the Fachada hospital.
One can only suspect that the medical facility in Manzanares was quick to identify, diagnose and treat the people with adequate antibiotics. Usually the number of deaths as compared to the number of those who contracted legionnaires disease is about 5-10%.
With little knowledge of the legionella bacteria, and with limited access to the Internet, the people of Manzanares have apparently been learning of the condition by word of mouth. Myths about whether the condition is contagious have the citizens in an apparent state of confusion. It should be noted that the cause of Legionnaires Disease is through water and water vapor.
While the fast medical treatment apparently saved lives after the outbreak, the lack of solid information about Legionnaires Disease to the community created an avoidable sense of paranoia. The Spanish Ministry of Health provided some information, but in the immediate aftermath the community should have been properly informed.