Basic Summary for Legionnaires' disease


Main name of condition: Legionnaires' disease
Other names or spellings: legionellosis, Legionella pneumophila

What is Legionnaires' disease?
  Brief description of Legionnaires' disease: Airborne disease known for infections caused by air conditioning towers.
  Parent types of Legionnaires' disease: Bacterial diseases, Pneumonia, Nosocomial infections
  Types of Legionnaires' disease: Pontiac fever
How many people get Legionnaires' disease?
  Incidence (annual) of Legionnaires' disease: 1,108 annual cases notified in USA 1999 (MMWR 1999)
  Incidence Rate of Legionnaires' disease: approx 1 in 245,487 or 0.00% or 1,107 people in USA [about data]
  Prevalance of Legionnaires' disease: An estimated 8,000 to 18,000 people get Legionnaires' disease in the United States each year. Some people can be infected with the Legionella bacterium and have mild symptoms or no illness at all. 1 ... An estimated 8,000 - 18,000 cases occur each year in the United States; 23% are nosocomial. Most LD cases are sporadic; 10% - 20% can be linked to outbreaks. Pontiac fever has been recognized only during outbreaks.2
Who gets Legionnaires' disease?
  Profile for Legionnaires' disease: People of any age may get Legionnaires' diasease, but the illness most often affects middle-aged and older persons, particularly those who smoke cigarettes or have chronic lung disease. Also at increased risk are persons whose immune system is suppressed by diseases such as cancer, kidney failure requiring dialysis, diabetes, or AIDS. Those that take drugs that suppress the immune system are also at higher risk. 1
  Geography Profile for Legionnaires' disease: Cases of legionellosis have been identified throughout the United States and in several foreign countries. It is believed to occur worldwide. 1
How serious is Legionnaires' disease?
  Prognosis of Legionnaires' disease: Although Legionnaires' disease has a mortality rate of 5 to 15 percent, many people may be infected with the bacterium that causes the disease, yet not develop any symptoms.3
  Complications of Legionnaires' disease: see complications of Legionnaires' disease
What causes Legionnaires' disease?
  Causes of Legionnaires' disease: Legionnaires' disease is most often contracted by inhaling mist from water sources such as whirlpool baths, showers, and cooling towers that are contaminated with Legionella bacteria. There is no evidence for person-to-person spread of the disease.3 ... Outbreaks of legionellosis have occurred after persons have breathed mists that come from a water source (e.g., air conditioning cooling towers, whirlpool spas, showers) contaminated with Legionella bacteria. Persons may be exposed to these mists in homes, workplaces, hospitals, or public places.1
  Class of Condition for Legionnaires' disease: bacterial
  Causes of Legionnaires' disease: see causes of Legionnaires' disease
  Risk factors for Legionnaires' disease: see risk factors for Legionnaires' disease
What are the symptoms of Legionnaires' disease?
  Incubation period for Legionnaires' disease: usually 2 to 10 days
  Incubation period for Legionnaires' disease: The time between the patient's exposure to the bacterium and the onset of illness for Legionnaires' disease is 2 to 10 days1
  Symptoms of Legionnaires' disease: see symptoms of Legionnaires' disease
Can anyone else get Legionnaires' disease?
  Contagion of Legionnaires' disease: Airborne. Well-known from air conditioning towers and other evaporative coolers.
  More information: see contagiousness of Legionnaires' disease
How is it treated?
  Treatments for Legionnaires' disease: see treatments for Legionnaires' disease
  Prevention of Legionnaires' disease: see prevention of Legionnaires' disease

1. excerpt from Legionellosis (General): DBMD
2. excerpt from Legionellosis: DBMD
3. excerpt from Legionnaires' Disease: NIEHS_1

Last revision: May 30, 2003

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