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.