Research – Rising Incidence of Legionnaires’ Disease and Associated Epidemiologic Patterns, United States, 1992–2018

CDC

Abstract

Reported Legionnaires’ disease (LD) cases began increasing in the United States in 2003 after relatively stable numbers for >10 years; reasons for the rise are unclear. We compared epidemiologic patterns associated with cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before and during the rise. The age-standardized average incidence was 0.48 cases/100,000 population during 1992–2002 compared with 2.71 cases/100,000 in 2018. Reported LD incidence increased in nearly every demographic, but increases tended to be larger in demographic groups with higher incidence. During both periods, the largest number of cases occurred among White persons, but the highest incidence was in Black or African American persons. Incidence and increases in incidence were generally largest in the East North Central, Middle Atlantic, and New England divisions. Seasonality was more pronounced during 2003–2018, especially in the Northeast and Midwest. Rising incidence was most notably associated with increasing racial disparities, geographic focus, and seasonality.

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