A 3-Year Follow-Up Study of Anti-Legionella Antibodies in Users of Japanese 24-Hour Hot Water Baths

Masahiro Irie, Hiroshi Miyamoto, Masato Ikeda, Shin Ichi Yoshida

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Although it has been found that legionellae can exist in a 24-h hot water bath (24HHWB), which has been used recently in Japan, whether longer use of the 24HHWB causes legionellosis is unclear. The present longitudinal study was conducted in 2000 to investigate the 3-yr change in antibody titers in association with the continuous use, non-use, or canceling the use of the 24HHWB, and possible factors relating to the antibody changes. Ninety-two subjects (85 males and 7 females), who had had their anti-Legionella pneumophila (Lp) serum antibody titers measured in our initial study in 1997 and consented to blood sampling 3 yr later, were selected as subjects. There were no clinical cases who had experienced Legionnaires' disease or Pontiac fever during the 3 yr. The continuous users showed no significant changes in antibody titers within 3 yr, whereas the continuous non-users had a significant increase in antibody titers against the Lp serogroup (SG) 5 and 6. Eleven ex-users of the 24HHWB showed a significant decrease in antibody titers against Lp SG 6. The changes in the 24HHWB use, job sector, stress coping strategies, and alcohol-drinking habit were associated with the changes in antibody titers against Lp SG 1, 5 or 6. The anti-Lp antibodies were considered to be IgM dominant. In conclusion, this study indicates that 24HHWB use by healthy subjects does not tend to result in a higher onset risk of legionellosis, even if it is continuously used for 3 yr, although 24HHWB use is likely to induce production of antibodies against legionellae.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-77
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Occupational Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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