Giving a presentation at the ESGLI Conference is a valuable and unique opportunity to meet other members of the community of European experts on Legionella, to exchange ideas, explore developments in current research and debate the key issues underlying the science and practice of Legionella prevention and control. We are proud and honoured to host the 4th International ESGLI Conference in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 22 – 23 September 2016.

Since the first described outbreak of Legionnaires’disease in 1976 in Philadelphia forty years ago, much has been learned about Legionella and the disease. Diagnostic methods were developed and knowledge has been gained about the natural habitats and other environmental sources of Legionella. Legislation for Legionella prevention in water systems was implemented in many countries. Nevertheless, annually more than 6000 patients with Legionnaires’ disease are diagnosed in Europe, and every year new outbreaks of various sizes occur worldwide. This emphasizes that many challenges for public health and scientific research still remain.

The ESGLI 2016 conference will present the latest scientific developments and knowledge about the ecology of Legionella, diagnostics, typing methods, outbreak investigations, travel associated Legionnaires’ disease, epidemiology and surveillance, environmental sources of Legionella, climate associations, and Legionella prevention.

Understanding the ecology of Legionella, including how it responds to climate change, is essential for managing risks in water systems. Increased knowledge of the interaction of Legionella with protozoa in biofilms that provide nutrients, enhance growth, influence virulence and protect Legionella is essential for assessing the effect of different control measures for Legionella prevention in e.g. plumbing systems in hospitals and hotels, spa-pools, wet cooling towers and aeration ponds.
Diagnostic challenges include the use of PCR, improving culture methods, which provide essential information for epidemiological investigations, and the application of many new possibilities for typing of isolates, such as Malditof, nested PCR, Core Genome SBT, or Whole Genome Sequencing. Improved methods, used in both diagnosis and surveillance, can provide valuable new insights in virulence, transmission and environmental sources of Legionella.
Worldwide, the occurrence of many small and some large outbreaks of legionnaires’ disease is well known. Dealing with an outbreak and finding the source of the outbreak is a major public health challenge. Many cases of Legionnaires disease however, are sporadic cases that cannot even be linked to an outbreak or travel and the source of these infections often remains unknown. The conference offers a unique opportunity to discuss these and other challenges with fellow researchers and other parties.