Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Understanding Legionnaires Diseases, Symptoms And Transmission


Legionnaires' disease is a form of pneumonia that can happen when a person breathes in the Legionella bacteria. Most cases are due to poor water management.
In 2015, around 6,000 people received a diagnosis of Legionnaire's disease, also known as Pontiac disease, in the United States (U.S.). However, there may be more cases that are not detected.
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In 2015, around 6,000 people received a diagnosis of Legionnaire's disease, also known as Pontiac disease, in the United States (U.S.). However, there may be more cases that are not detected. Legionellosis is a collective term for diseases caused by Legionella bacteria including the most serious, Legionnaires’ disease, as well as the less serious condition of Pontiac fever. If a person has a Legionella-related disease and they have pneumonia they have Legionnaires’ disease. If they don’t have pneumonia they may have Pontiac fever which is usually a mild, flu like illness lasting a few days.

Symptoms Of Legionnaires Disease
Legionnaires' disease symptoms are similar to other types of pneumonia and it often looks the same on a chest x-ray, the symptoms include :

  • Cough, which may bring up mucus and sometimes blood
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Confusion or other mental changes

Legionnaires’ disease can also be associated with other symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, and confusion. Symptoms usually begin 2 to 10 days after being exposed to the bacteria, but it can take longer so people should watch for symptoms for about 2 weeks after exposure. If you develop pneumonia symptoms, see a doctor right away. Be sure to mention if you may have been exposed to Legionella , have used a hot tub, spent any nights away from home, or stayed in a hospital in the last two weeks.


Pontiac Fever : Pontiac fever symptoms are primarily fever and muscle aches; it is a milder infection than Legionnaires’ disease. Symptoms begin between a few hours to 3 days after being exposed to the bacteria and usually last less than a week. Pontiac fever is different from Legionnaires' disease because someone with Pontiac fever does not have pneumonia.

Outbreaks of legionellosis have occurred after people have inhaled aerosols that come from a water source (for example, air-conditioning cooling towers, hot tubs, or showers) contaminated with Legionella bacteria. People may be exposed to these aerosols in homes, workplaces, hospitals, or public places. Person-to-person infection does not occur with legionellosis, and there is no evidence of people becoming infected from vehicle air conditioners or household window air-conditioning units.
Cases of Legionnaires' disease have increased throughout the United States, but this most likely represents increased detection by better diagnostic tests. Some would suggest that this increase may be due to global warming, though this seems unlikely.

Hospital-acquired (nosocomial) infections have occurred and are usually due to contamination of the water supply. Two well-reported cases occurred in the 1980s in Los Angeles, one at the Wadsworth VA hospital and the other at the City of Hope. Guidelines have now been established for routine environmental testing for Legionnaires' in several states in the United States and by the Veterans Affairs health care system. With regard to travel-associated infection, this usually occurs in hotels from contaminated water, most notably at the Legionnaires' convention in Philadelphia. This disease has also been associated with travel on cruise ships.
Some data suggest an increase incidence of Legionnaires' in the elderly in nursing homes linked to eating puréed food, probably also due to increased aspiration in this population.


Author: Richard Smith