Group | Household Health Systems
Epidemiology of Legionella in Switzerland
Legionella spp. are common environmental bacteria, living in fresh water. They are also known to cultivate in man-made water reservoirs such as cooling towers or shower heads and in household plumbing systems. Infection may lead to legionellosis, a group of diseases ranging from a mild, flu-like illness (Pontiac fever), and pulmonary distress to potentially fatal pneumonia, known as Legionnaires ’ disease. The burden of disease due to Legionella spp. is unknown. Only high-income countries with well-functioning health systems maintain infectious disease surveillance systems that include Legionella infections. As of 1988, Legionellosis is a notifiable disease and must be reported to the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). Ever since, number of notifications steadily increased, and more than doubled in the last 15 years reaching 582 cases of Legionnaires’ disease in 2019.
To understand the Legionella epidemiology in the Swiss socio-ecological systems context a series of studies focuses on the infection pathway from exposure to patient to disease notification and the health system. These research endeavours prepare for an in-depth study among the annual cluster of Legionellosis cases investigating the risk factors and environmental exposure sites for contracting Legionnaires’ disease in Switzerland. These insights also inform forthcoming works for a spatial analysis of Legionnaires’ disease and associated risk patterns exploring the strong regional differences in incidence across Switzerland, and the ongoing collaborative research in the Eawag-led "Legionella control in buildings" (LeCo) consortium which bridges microbiological and human health research. Read more about the LeCo project
Global Burden of Disease
WHO and 14 collaborating research institutions have estimated that 842,000 diarrhoea deaths in low- and middle- income countries can be attributed to poor water, sanitation and hygiene. This amounts to 1.5% of the total disease burden and 58% of diarrhoeal diseases. The Household Health Systems group has contributed substantially to this series. For more information please consult WHO Programme "Water Sanitation Health"
Selected ProjectsAll Projects
Latest PublicationsAll Publications
Hartinger S.M et al. A factorial cluster-randomised controlled trial combining home-environmental and early child development interventions to improve child health and development: rationale, trial design and baseline findings. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2020;20:73. DOI: 10.1186/s12874-020-00950-y
Nuño Martínez N et al. The meanings of water: Socio‐Cultural Perceptions of Solar Disinfected (SODIS) drinking water in Bolivia and implications for its uptake. Water. 2020;12:442. DOI: 10.3390/w12020442
Larson A et al. Antibiotic-resistant Escherichia coli in drinking water samples from rural Andean households in Cajamarca, Peru. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2019;100(6):1363-1368. DOI: 10.4269/ajtmh.18-0776
Schmutz C, Mäusezahl D, Jost M. Hepatitis A in Switzerland: an analysis of 29 years of surveillance data and contemporary challenges. Travel Med Infect Dis. 2019;27:53-63. DOI: 10.1016/j.tmaid.2018.07.012
Tüshaus L, Moreo M, Zhang J, Hartinger S.M, Mäusezahl D, Karlen M. Physiologically driven, altitude-adaptive model for the interpretation of pediatric oxygen saturation at altitudes above 2000 m a.s.l. J Appl Physiol. 2019;127(3):847-857. DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00478.2018