• Legionnaires' Disease

    (Legionnaires' Pneumonia)

    Definition

    Legionnaires' disease is a lung infection. It is a form of pneumonia. It got its name after it struck at the American Legionnaires Convention in 1976.

    Causes

    This disease is caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophilia in most cases. The bacteria are most often found in sources of standing water. It may be found in cooling towers, HVAC systems, and air conditioners.
    Legionnaires' disease can be contracted by breathing water vapor from a standing water source that contains Legionella bacteria.
    The Lungs
    Nucleus factsheet image
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
    The infection does not move from one person to another.

    Risk Factors

    Factors that increase your chance for Legionnaires' disease include:
    • Advanced age
    • Smoking
    • Chronic lung disease
    • Weakened immune system (as with AIDS)
    • Kidney failure
    • Diabetes
    • Taking cortisone or other immunosuppressive drugs
    • Organ transplant patients

    Symptoms

    Symptoms may include:
    • Fatigue
    • Fever (often high)
    • Chills and muscle aches
    • Cough
    • Headache

    Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
    Your doctor may need pictures of your chest. This can be done with a chest x-ray.
    Your doctor may need tests of your bodily fluids. This can be done with:
    • Urine tests
    • Sputum tests
    • Blood tests

    Treatment

    This disease is usually treated with antibiotics.
    If you are diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease, follow your doctor's instructions.

    Prevention

    Proper design, maintenance, and cleaning of high-risk areas can reduce the risk of spreading the disease. This includes any area with standing water.

    RESOURCES

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) http://www.cdc.gov

    National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences National Institutes of Health (NIH) http://www.niehs.nih.gov

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Capital Health Nova Scotia http://www.cdha.nshealth.ca

    Communicable Disease ControlManitoba Health http://www.gov.mb.ca

    References

    Arcavi L, Benowitz NL. Cigarette smoking and infection. Arch Intern Med. 2004;164:2206-2216.

    Legionellosis resource site. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/legionella/about/index.html. Updated June 1, 2011. Accessed December 31, 2012.

    Legionnaires' disease. Occupational Safety & Health Administration website. Available at: http://www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/legionnaires/index.html. Accessed December 31, 2012.

    Legionnaires' disease. Patient UK website. Available at: http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Legionnaires'-Disease.htm. Accessed December 31, 2012.

    Pneumonia in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com. Updated December 5, 2012. Accessed December 31, 2012.

    Top 10 things every clinician needs to know about Legionellosis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/legionella/clinicians.html. Updated June 1, 2011. Accessed December 31, 2012.

    Revision Information

  • Join WellZones today.

    Make a Change For LifeLearn more

    Wellmont LiveWell is creating a new tradition of wellness in the mountains by providing individuals with tools and encouragement to live healthier lifestyles.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease early and prevent heart attacks with HeartSHAPE® - a painless, non-invasive test that takes pictures of your heart to scan for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.