Public health and economic costs of investigating a suspected outbreak of Legionnaires' disease.

Lock, K; Millett, C; Heathcock, R; Joseph, CA; Harrison, TG; Lee, JV; Rao, G; Surman-Lee, S; on behalf of the Outbreak Control Team, ; (2007) Public health and economic costs of investigating a suspected outbreak of Legionnaires' disease. Epidemiology and infection, 136 (10). pp. 1306-14. ISSN 0950-2688 DOI:

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This paper provides one of the first assessments of the burden of both the public health investigation and the economic costs associated with an apparent outbreak of Legionnaires' disease (LD) in South East London. In addition to epidemiological, microbiological and environmental investigations, we collected data on the staff time and resources committed by the 11 main organizations responsible for managing the outbreak. Of the overall estimated costs of 455,856 pounds, only 14% (64,264 pounds) was spent on investigation and control of the outbreak compared with 86% (391,592 pounds) spent on the hospital treatment of the patients. The time and money spent on public health services in this investigation appear to represent good value for money considering the potential costs of a major outbreak, including the high case-fatality rate in LD generally and the high health-care costs. Further research is needed to determine optimum strategies for the cost-effective use of health system resources in investigations of LD. Whether the threshold for investigation of cases should be based on observed incidence rates or the cost-effectiveness of investigations, or both, should be debated further.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Health Services Research and Policy
Research Centre: ECOHOST - The Centre for Health and Social Change
Centre for Global Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)
PubMed ID: 18088448
Web of Science ID: 260579500002


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