What Causes legionnaires Disease?

Legionnaires disease is a form of pneumonia that can occur during a person breathes in the Legionella bacteria infection.

In 2015, around 6,000 people suffered a legionnaire’s disease, also known as Pontiac disease, within the United States.

But, there may be more cases that are not identified. In situations, it is fatal.

The incidence of the infection increased nearly fourfold from 2000 to 2014.

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How Do You Get legionnaires Disease?
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What are the symptoms of legionnaires disease?

Legionnaires’ disease may be difficult to diagnose at first, but its signs and symptoms may be very similar to other forms of pneumonia.

Signs and symptoms usually appear between days after the initial infection.

Symptoms are includes:

  • High fever and chills
  • Cough
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache, confusion
  • Concussion
  • Fatigue

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Some people may feel only muscle pain and a mild headache to start with, and the other symptoms start to appear 1 to 3 days later.

During more serious symptoms appear, the fever will be high. The muscle pains often get more critical, and the patient starts to have chills.

Often, the bacteria enter the patient’s lungs, beginning with persistent shortness of breath, cough, and chest pains. The cough starts dry at first but will be mucus and possibly blood.

As the infection progresses, 1 in 3 infected patients will feel vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. Those with gastrointestinal signs will usually have a much-reduced appetite.

There may be difficult and altered mental situations.

To learn more, you can read:

What causes legionnaire’s disease?

Bacteria called Legionella induces Legionnaires’ disease. The bacteria attack the lungs and produce an infection known as pneumonia.

Legionella usually lives in warm water. Common locations include:

  • Whirlpool spas
  • Swimming pools
  • Hot tubs
  • Cooling systems or air-conditioning systems for large buildings, such as hospitals
  • Public showers
  • Humidifiers
  • Natural bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers, and creek
  • Fountains

The bacteria can remain outdoors, but they are associated with increasing rapidly in indoor water systems.

People get affected by inhaling water droplets or mist in the air that’s infected with the bacteria. The disease can’t be spread quickly from person to person. 

Must read this: How Do You Get Bacterial Meningitis?

How do you get legionnaires disease?

After Legionella develops and increases in a building water system, water containing Legionella can get in droplets enough for people to breathe in. 

Is legionnaires disease contagious?   

People can get Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever when they breathe in short droplets of water in the air that contains the bacteria.

Less commonly, people can get sick from drinking water containing Legionella. 

This occurs when water accidentally goes into the lungs while drinking. People at improved risk of aspiration include those with swallowing problems.

In common, people do not spread Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever to other people. However, this may be likely under rare circumstances.

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Talk to your doctor

  • If believe you were exposed to Legionella.
  • If you have symptoms, such as fever, cough, chills, or muscle pain.

Your doctor will determine whether to investigate.

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Risk Factor

Not everyone who breathes in contaminated air droplets will get sick. But, you’re at high risk for developing Legionnaires’ disease if you:

  • Over age 50
  • Have a weakened immunity due to another disease
  • Have a chronic lung infection
  • Cancer
  • Smoking


A Doctor will consider the symptoms and ask whether the patient has recently spent time in a large building and hospital.

Tests that can help to identify the infection include:

  • A urine test to identify antigens, the special proteins produced by the immunity to fight the Legionella bacteria.
  • Blood tests
  • Imaging scanning check the status of the lungs and kidney.

A lumbar puncture and spinal tap can show whether the disease has affected the brain.


Treatment commonly includes antibiotics, given by mouth or intravenously for between 10 and 15 days.

Adverse side effects may involve nausea, headache, dizziness, loss of appetite, or chest pains.

Some cases may receive intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration. Older patients and those with weak immunity and other chronic condition, such as diabetes, may be hospitalized.

If the lungs are severely affected, it will supply the patient with oxygen.

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The conclusion is commonly good for healthy people who receive prompt treatment.

But, the time of recovery time will depend on the severity of the infection and how fast treatment is received. Faster treatment means better results.

Legionnaires’ disease is usually more severe in older adults who have weakened immunity and other medical conditions.

If you’re elderly, you have a high risk of developing difficulties, and you may require to stay in the hospital for a long time.

If you see any symptoms related to legionnaires  Disease, let us know in the comment box. So we can help you

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