Legionnaires’ Disease

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
to affect:

Middle aged and elderly persons

Immunocompromised patients

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


Recurrent chills

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.


Antibiotic therapy


Fluid replacement

May require oxygen therapy