Legionnaires' Disease - Causes

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What causes legionellosis? What is the history of Legionnaires' disease?

Legionellosis is an infection that is caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila. The disease has two distinct forms:

  • Legionnaires' disease is the more severe form of the infection, which may involve pneumonia. The onset of this form of the disease is usually two to 10 days after infection but can occur up to 16 days later. Legionnaires' disease acquired its name in 1976 after an outbreak of pneumonia occurred among people attending a convention of the American Legion in Philadelphia. Later, the bacterium causing the illness was named Legionella pneumophila.
  • Pontiac fever is a milder illness that develops from hours to two days after initial infection and resolves spontaneously.
X-ray image of lungs of patient with Legionnaires' disease
X-ray image of lungs of patient with Legionnaires' disease; SOURCE: CDC
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Comment from: raven52, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 25

The steps from my backyard to the basement door were covered in fungus and algae. I decided to scrape it all off and clean it up and I ended up with Legionnaires' disease. I ended up in the hospital for three days with pneumonia. I needed lots of tests to arrive at the diagnosis. I was given intravenous antibiotics as well as a lot of fluids. I continued taking oral antibiotics at home. It took me a long time to recover.

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