Reykjavík Health Authority Confirms Legionnaires' Case Skip to content

Reykjavík Health Authority Confirms Legionnaires’ Case

By Ragnar Tómas

Reykjavík drone
Photo: Art Bicnick.

The bacterium causing Legionnaires’ disease was detected in the water supply of a house in the Holt neighbourhood in Reykjavík, leading one person to fall ill, Heimildin reports. The water system has since been cleaned, and new tests are expected to confirm its safety in 10 days.

One person taken ill

The bacterium that causes Legionnaires’ disease was recently discovered in the water of a house in the Holt neighbourhood, near downtown Reykjavík. One person has fallen ill. This has been confirmed by the Reykjavík Public Health Authority.

At the request of the Chief Epidemiologist, the health authority took water samples at Vatnsholt and detected the bacterium in one house. “A cleaning was conducted by pumping 70-degree hot water through the system,” the Reykjavik Public Health Authority stated in a response to Heimildin’s inquiry.

“The water system has likely been cleaned effectively, and new samples have been taken to confirm this, with results expected in 10 days. The issue appears to be resolved, and only one person fell ill. Generally, healthy individuals are not at risk of getting sick.”

Not contagious

Legionnaires’ disease is a form of atypical pneumonia caused by any species of Legionella bacteria. As noted by Heimildin, infection can occur when aerosolized water from pipes or tanks is inhaled. Severe illness is more likely in individuals with underlying risk factors such as advanced age, smoking, chronic lung diseases, immunosuppression, alcoholism, and kidney failure. The disease does not spread between people.

Heimildin quotes the Reykjavík Public Health Authority as stating that the bacterium occasionally appears, often when residential water systems are unused for several months, such as during extended stays abroad. A resident at the Droplaugarstaðir nursing home contracted Legionnaires’ disease in 2019 and fully recovered.

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