A source of infection is rarely identified for sporadic cases of Legionnaires’ disease. The researchers found that professional drivers are five times more commonly represented among community acquired sporadic cases in England and Wales than expected. They investigated possible risk exposures in relation to driving or spending time in a motor vehicle. A case control study including all surviving community acquired sporadic cases in England and Wales with onset between 12 July 2008 and 9 March 2009 was carried out. Multivariable analysis identified two exposures linked to vehicle use associated with an increased risk of Legionnaires’ disease: Driving through industrial areas and driving or being a passenger in a vehicle with windscreen wiper fluid not containing added screen wash. Not adding screen wash to windscreen wiper fluid is a previously unidentified risk factor and appears to be strongly associated with community acquired sporadic cases of Legionnaires’ disease. A simple recommendation to use screen wash may mitigate transmission of Legionella bacteria to drivers and passengers. Eur J Epidemiol. 2010 Jun 8. [Epub ahead of print].
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