InVS Département Santé Environnement 12, rue du Val d’Osne 94415 Saint-Maurice cedex France, EDF Direction Dynamique et Politique RH Service des études médicales 22, rue Joubert 75009 Paris France
- Key words: biological markers, Legionella pneumophila, occupational exposure, seroepidemiologic studies
- DOI : 10.1684/ers.2010.0350
- Page(s) : 209-16
- Published in: 2010
Cooling towers have been associated with several outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease, but no case has thus far been associated with plumes from very tall industrial cooling towers. This study sought to compare the prevalence rate of antibodies against Legionella pneumophila, which serve as an indicator of Legionella exposure, among workers who were and were not exposed to plumes from nuclear power plant cooling towers. Exposure was defined in three categories by plant of employment, characterized by the existence and height of cooling towers (no, short, or very tall cooling tower). Antibodies were measured with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) methods. The results showed a very low prevalence of antibodies among workers: 1.51% for an IIF titer ≥ 1:16, 1.05% for ≥ 1:32, and 0.53% for ≥ 1:64. Seroprevalence did not differ according to plant of employment. Wearing an appropriate mask appeared to be protective against Legionella exposure during tasks identified as involving direct exposure.