Not everyone exposed to legionella bacteria becomes sick. You're more likely to develop the infection if you:

  • Smoke. Smoking damages the lungs, making you more susceptible to all types of lung infections.
  • Have a weakened immune system as a result of HIV/AIDS or certain medications, especially corticosteroids and drugs taken to prevent organ rejection after a transplant.
  • Have a chronic lung disease such as emphysema or another serious condition such as diabetes, kidney disease or cancer.
  • Are 50 years of age or older.

Legionnaires' disease is a sporadic and local problem in hospitals and nursing homes, where germs may spread easily and people are vulnerable to infection.

Jan. 02, 2014