The aim of this study was to compare the incidence of community-acquired Legionnaires' Disease in Nottingham with England and Wales and to explore reasons for any difference observed. Based on data from the National Surveillance Scheme for Legionnaires' Disease (1980-1999), the rate of infection in England and Wales was 1-3 per million/year compared with 6.6 per million/year in Nottingham. Domestic water samples were obtained from 41 (95%) of 43 Nottingham cases between 1997 and 2000. In 16 (39%) cases, Legionella sp. were cultured in significant quantities. Proximity to a cooling tower was examined using a 1:4 case-controlled analysis. No significant difference in the mean distance between place of residence to the nearest cooling tower was noted (cases 2.7 km vs. controls 2.3 km; P = 0.5). These data suggest that Nottingham does have a higher rate of legionella infection compared to national figures and that home water systems are a source.