What Is Legionnaires Disease?

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By james
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Legionnaires disease is a bacterial infection caused by Legionella pneumophila. Its result is a dangerous form of pneumonia. Without immediate treatment, the disease can be fatal. A majority of people who contract the disease get it from a water source.

Estimates place the number of infected people in the United States between 10,000 and 18,000 annually. The disease is frequently serious enough to put its victims in intensive care. L. pneumophila also causes a milder illness called Pontiac fever.

1. Legionnaires Disease Symptoms

The incubation period for Legionnaires disease is between two and 10 days. This means that a person does not exhibit symptoms immediately after exposure to the bacteria. Frequently, the first signs to occur are muscle aches, headache and a fever that can exceed 104° F (40° C). Other symptoms begin to develop by the second or third day.

These symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain and a cough that may produce sputum or blood. Nausea, diarrhea and vomiting are also possible, as is mental confusion. Though the disease primarily affects the lungs, the possibility exists for secondary infections to other areas of the body, including the heart.

Legionnaires Disease

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