Legionnaire is a respiratory disease that is a type of pneumonia. How dangerous is this disease? Find out more about Legionnaire symptoms, causes, its treatment and prevention.
What is Legionnaires Disease?
Legionnaire’s disease is a medical disorder when the lungs experience inflamed due to a bacterial infection. Legionnaire is actually a type of pneumonia that has reached a more severe stage. This disease occurs due to a bacterial infection called Legionella pneumophila.
The disease was first identified in 1977. Six months earlier, a total of 29 soldiers (legion) died from a mysterious outbreak while attending a meeting at a hotel in Philadelphia, USA (that’s why the disease was named legionnaire). The disease is spread through droplets that carry the causative bacteria.
What is Legionnaires Disease Symptoms?
Legionnaires’ disease usually appears 2 to 10 days after Legionella bacteria enter the body. Legionnaires’ disease is usually preceded by the following signs:
- Muscle pain
- Body shivers
- High fever, up to 40 degrees Celsius.
On the 2nd and 3rd day, patients will experience additional symptoms as follows:
- Cough with phlegm and sometimes accompanied by blood
- Shortness of breath
- Severe chest pain
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea,
- Changes in mental state.
Legionnaires’ disease usually attacks the lungs, but sometimes it can cause infections in other parts of the body, such as the heart.
Pontiac fever will appear along with legionnaires’ disease. Pontiac fever can cause symptoms such as body chills, fever, dizziness, and muscle aches. Pontiac fever does not infect the lungs and symptoms of Pontiac fever will usually disappear within 2 to 4 days
What is Legionnaires Disease Caused By?
Legionella pneumophila bacteria are responsible for most cases of Legionnaires’ disease. Outdoors, Legionella bacteria survive in soil and water, but rarely cause infection. However, Legionella bacteria can multiply in water systems made by humans, such as air conditioners.
Although Legionnaires’ disease may have contracted from home pipes, most outbreaks have occurred in large buildings, possibly because complex systems allow bacteria to grow and spread more easily. In addition, home and car air conditioning units do not use water for cooling.
Legionnaires Disease Risk Factors
The following factors may increase the likelihood of Legionnaires’ Disease:
- Older age
- Smo**king history
- Chronic lung disease
- Poor immune function
How does legionnaires disease spread
Most people are infected when they inhale microscopic water droplets containing Legionella bacteria. This may be from sprays from showers, taps or whirlpools, or water from ventilation systems in large buildings. Plague has been linked to:
- Hot tubs and whirlpools
- Cooling tower in air conditioning system
- Hot water tank and heater
- Decorative fountain
- Swimming pool
- Drinking water.
In addition to inhaling water droplets, infection transmission can be done in other ways, including:
- Aspiration. This happens when fluid accidentally gets into your lungs, usually because you cough or choke while drinking. If you suck water containing Legionella bacteria, you can develop Legionnaires’ disease.
- The ground. Some people have contracted Legionnaires’ disease after working in the garden or using contaminated potted soil.
Legionnaires disease complications
Yes, Legionnaires’ disease causes complications if left untreated. Below is a list of complications and problems that can arise if Legionnaires’ Disease is not treated:
- Septic shock
- Respiratory failure
- Acute renal failure
- It can be fatal.
Legionnaires Disease Treatment
Self-care for Legionnaires’ Disease
The following self-care measures or lifestyle changes can help in the treatment or management of Legionnaires’ Disease:
- Quit smo**king: Avoid smo**king reduces the chances of developing the disease.
Legionnaires’ Disease Treatment Time
Although the duration of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the period of treatment of Legionnaires’ Disease if treated properly under expert supervision:
- In 1 week
Legionnaires Disease Prevention
Yes, it is possible to prevent Legionnaires’ Disease. Prevention can be done as follows:
- Avoid smo**king
- Do the cleaning thoroughly
- Disinfectant water system
Last Updated on April 18, 2021 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team