Legionnaires’ Disease

We’ve been seeing more and more stories in the media about reports of Legionnaires’ disease so we thought we would provide some basic info about the disease.

  •  The name “Legionnaire” comes from the first outbreak which occurred in 1976 at the American Legion Convention, in Philadelphia PA.
  •  The disease is caused by bacteria (legionella) which thrive in aquatic environments and when virulent in humans, infect the lungs. Pneumonia and/or Pontiac fever, which has similar symptoms to the flu, typically occur.
  •  Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious from person-to-person contact. Typically, the bacteria are found in microscopic water droplets, in vapor form, and are inhaled. Alternatively, the bacteria can also be transmitted if contaminated water is consumed.
    •  Hot tubs, cooling towers, pools, water systems, and fountains have all been implicated in the spread of the legionella bacteria.
  • The legionella bacteria can be identified in water systems through a simple sampling procedure. Once identified, a treatment protocol can be implemented.
  • Legionnaire’s disease is treated with antibiotics and the sooner the treatment is prescribed, the less likely the chance of serious health effects.
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