From 2011 through 2018 there was a notable increase in sporadic Legionnaires' disease in the state of Minnesota. Sporadic cases are those not associated with a documented outbreak. Outbreak related cases are typically associated with a common identified contaminated water system, sporadic cases typically do not have a common source that has been identified. Because of this, it is hypothesized that weather and environmental factors can be used as predictors of sporadic Legionnaires' disease. An ecological design was used with case report surveillance data from the state of Minnesota during 2011 through 2018. Over this 8-year period, there were 374 confirmed Legionnaires' disease cases included in the analysis. Precipitation, temperature, and relative humidity data were collected from weather stations across the state. A Poisson regression analysis examined the risk of Legionnaires' disease associated with precipitation, temperature, relative humidity, land-use, and age. A lagged average 14-day precipitation had the strongest association with Legionnaires' disease (RR: 2.5; CI: 2.1-2.9), when accounting for temperature, relative humidity, land-use, and age. Temperature, relative humidity and land-use also had statistically significant associations to Legionnaires' disease, but with smaller risk ratios. This study adds to the body of evidence that weather and environmental factors play an important role in the risk of sporadic Legionnaires' disease. This is an area that can be used to target additional research and prevention strategies.
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