Legionnaires' disease is a severe form of pneumonia — lung inflammation usually caused by infection. Legionnaires' disease is caused by a bacterium known as legionella.
You can't catch Legionnaires' disease from person-to-person contact. Instead, most people get Legionnaires' disease from inhaling the bacteria. Older adults, smokers and people with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible to Legionnaires' disease.
The legionella bacterium also causes Pontiac fever, a milder illness resembling the flu. Separately or together, the two illnesses are sometimes called legionellosis. Pontiac fever usually clears on its own, but untreated Legionnaires' disease can be fatal. Although prompt treatment with antibiotics usually cures Legionnaires' disease, some people continue to experience problems after treatment.
Jan. 02, 2014
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- Legionella (Legionnaires' disease and Pontiac fever). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/legionella/index.html. Accessed June 26, 2013.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed June 26, 2013.
- Pedro-Botet ML, et al. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of legionella infection. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 26, 2013.
- Mandell GL, et al. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-443-06839-3..X0001-X--TOP&isbn=978-0-443-06839-3&uniqId=230100505-57. June 26, 2013.
- Pedro-Botet ML, et al. Treatment and prevention of legionella infection. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 26, 2013.
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