Legionnaires' Disease

LEGIONNAIRES' DISEASE

Legionnaires' disease is a serious lung infection (pneumonia) caused by Legionella bacteria. Pontiac fever is the milder form of the disease whose symptoms include fever and muscle aches

HOW DO PEOPLE GET THE DISEASE?

People get Legionnaires' disease when they breathe in small droplets of water in the air that contain Legionella bacteria, or when contaminated water accidentally gets into the lungs. 

WHERE DO YOU FIND LEGIONELLA BACTERIA?

 Legionella bacteria can be found in freshwater lakes and streams. The bacteria can become a serious public health concern when it grows and spreads in building water systems.

 

POPULATION AT RISK FOR LEGIONNAIRES’ DISEASE

People 50 years or older, current or former smokers, and people with chronic diseases or weakened immune systems are particularly at increased risk for getting Legionnaires’ disease.

 

DIAGNOSIS

Urine antigen and laboratory tests are the main methods for testing for the disease. Laboratory test involves taking a sputum sample or washing from the lung and isolating the bacteria. Though blood test is available, it can be nonspecific in majority of the situations. Legionnaires’ disease can be confirmed by chest x-ray.


COMPLICATION

Possible complications of Legionnaires’ disease include lung failure and death. About 1 in every 10 people who gets sick from Legionnaires’ disease will die due to complications.

 

TREATMENT

Pontiac fever resolves without medication or treatment. However, Legionnaires’ disease requires antibiotic treatment to kill the bacteria.

 

PREVENTION

There is no vaccine for preventing Legionnaires’ disease. Good maintenance and management of building water systems such as hot water tanks and heaters, hot tubs, large plumbing systems, cooling towers and decorative water fountains prevent growth and spread of Legionella.

                                     

TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR

If you show signs of Legionnaires’ disease, or believe that you may have been exposed to Legionella, talk to your doctor.


OUTBREAK RESPONSE

Shelby County Health Department has been involved in multiple responses of Legionnaires’ disease over the last few years, providing guidance and assisting in remediation efforts in facilities such as hotels, fitness centers, etc

LEGIONNAIRES' DISEASE IN A NUTSHELL!!!

Tell your doctor!!!

Human Lungs With Legionnaires' Disease

* Values less than 5 counts are censored to  to maintain confidentiality

Legionnaires' Disease Outbreak Reports