An outbreak is defined as two or more confirmed cases of legionellosis occurring in the same locality within a six-month period.

It is the responsibility of the Proper Officer for the declaration of an outbreak. The Proper officer is usually a Consultant in Communicable Disease Control (CCDC). In Scotland, it is the Consultant in Public Health Medicine (CPHM).

Local authorities will have established incident plans to investigate major outbreaks of infectious disease including legionellosis. These are activated by the Proper Officer who invokes an outbreak Committee, whose primary purpose is to protect public health, and prevent further infection. This will normally be set up to manage the incident and will involve representatives of all the agencies involved.

The local authority, CCDC or EHO acting on their behalf may make a site visit and request the shutting down of any processes which are capable of generating and disseminating airborne water droplets. They may take water samples and ensure emergency disinfection is undertaken.

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