Legionnaires’ Disease or Legionella
pneumophila : It derives its name and notoriety from the peculiar,
highly publicized disease that struck 182 people ( 29 of whom died) at
na American Legion convention in Philadelphia in July 1976.
Legionnaires’ disease is an acute bronchopneumonia produced by a gram-negative
bacillus. This disease may occur epidemically or sporadically, usually
in late summer or early fall. Its severity ranges from a mild illness,
with or without pneumonitis, to multilobar pneumonia, with a mortality
as high as 15%. Pontiac syndrome mimics Legionnaires’ disease but
produces few or no respiratory symptoms, no pneumonia, and no fatalities,
but it leaves the patient fatigued for several weeks.
Cause: Legionnaires’ disease bacterium (LDB), is an aerobic,
gram-negative bacillus that probably is transmitted by an airborne route.
In may be spread through cooling towers or evaporation condensers in air-conditioning
systems, in soil and excavation sites. (it is not spread from person to
LDB, usually affects more often in men than in women and is most likely
Middle aged and elderly persons
Patients with a chronic underlying disease
Onset of the disease may be gradual or sudden
After a 2 to 10 day incubation period, nonspecific, prodromal
signs and symptoms appear, including:
Diffuse myalgias and generalized weakness
Unremitting fever ( which may develop within 12 to 48 hours with a
temperature that may reach 105 degree F
Cough – initially nonproductive but eventually may produce grayish,
nonpurulent and occasionally blood streaked sputum.
Nausea & vomiting
May become disorientated, confused and may have mild temporary amnesia
Pleuritic chest pain
May experience bradycardia
Patient who develop pneumonia may also experience hypoxia
Other complication include hypotension, delirium, acute respiratory
failure, renal failure, and shock (usually fatal).
** See your doctor promptly if you have the above symptoms.
May require oxygen therapy