Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Short report
Legionnaires’ disease in transportation, construction and other occupations in 39 US jurisdictions, 2014–2016


Background Certain workers are at increased risk for acquiring Legionnaires’ disease compared with other workers. This study aims to identify occupations at increased risk for acquiring Legionnaires’ disease.

Methods Using data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Supplemental Legionnaires’ Disease Surveillance System, this study identified Legionnaires’ disease confirmed patients ≥16 years of age in 39 states with reported symptom onset during 2014–2016. Age-adjusted and sex-adjusted incidence rate ratios (IRR) stratified by occupation group were calculated by comparing Legionnaires’ disease patients in an occupation group (eg, transportation) to those in all other occupation groups (eg, non-transportation).

Results A total of 2553 patients had a known occupation group. The two occupations with the highest burden were transportation (N=287; IRR=2.11) and construction (N=269; IRR=1.82). Truck drivers comprised the majority (69.7%) of the transportation occupation group and construction labourers comprised almost half (49%) of the construction occupation group. The healthcare support occupation had the highest IRR (N=75; IRR=2.16).

Conclusion Transportation and construction workers, who are generally not covered by guidance related to building water systems, have increased risk of Legionnaires’ disease compared with other workers. One hypothesised risk factor for truck drivers is the use of non-genuine windshield cleaner in their vehicles. A simple intervention is to use genuine windshield cleaner with bactericidal properties (ie, includes isopropanol/methanol) which can reduce the risk of Legionella growth and transmission. To improve surveillance of Legionnaires’ disease and identification of similar exposures, the authors encourage the collection of occupation and industry information for all patients with Legionnaires’ disease.

  • Transportation
  • Epidemiology
  • Occupational Health
  • Public Health Surveillance
  • Construction Industry

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request. A deidentified dataset can be made available on request. However, due to confidentiality, a data use agreement may be required depending on requested data elements. Data requests can be made to

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.