Legionnaires Disease – Causes and Symptoms of Legionnaires Disease

Legionnaires disease is a deadly form of pneumonia. It is a bacterial infection of respiratory tract caused by Legionella pneumophila. Inhaling small droplets of water in the air is the main factor that contains this bacteria. The disease condition is given after a serious epidemic of severe pneumonia in a meeting of American Legion in the year 1976.

It is estimated that the disease condition affects mostly the middle aged people. Men are more frequently affected than women. People who have heart problems and smokers are also at greater risk of developing the disease condition.

Causes of Legionnaires Disease
Legionnaires disease is caused by bacteria that belongs to legionella species. This bacteria is found in water delivery systems and can grow in air conditioning, moist and warm areas. Most of the cases of disease are known to cause by Legionella pneumophilia. The disease can be spread through breathing water droplets that may contain the bacteria.

The following factors increase the risk of Legionnaires disease:

  • Older age
  • Some medications such as steroid and chemotherapy medicines may suppress the immune system
  • Long-term use of breathing machines
  • Lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Some cancers that may weaken immune system
  • Disease conditions such as diabetes or kidney failure
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Consuming alcohol

Symptoms of Legionnaires Disease
Symptoms of legionnaires disease are similar to other respiratory diseases. Thus sometimes it may be difficult to diagnose the condition. Symptoms get worse during initial stages. The signs and symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Non-productive cough
  • Stiffness and muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of coordination
  • Joint pains
  • Headache
  • Ill feeling, uneasiness and discomfort
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea and diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Coughing up blood
  • Chest pain

Pontiac Fever
Pontiac fever is a mild form of Legionnaires disease. It does not affect lungs. The disease has a short incubation period and can affect any individual. It is a hypersensitivity reaction to Legionella bacterial species It is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Muscle pains
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fever

Seek a medical professional as soon as you notice the symptoms or if you suppose to be exposed to Legionella bacteria. A quick diagnosis and immediate treatment helps in preventing serious complications.

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