Legionellosis

Common Name(s)

Legionellosis

Legionellosis is an infection caused by the bacteria Legionella pneumophila. This bacterium can be found in water and grows best in hot tubs, plumbing systems, and shallow fountains. Legionella is not spread human to human, but is spread by inhalation of water droplets containing the bacteria. Transmission often occurs when a spray can, humidifier or a water system involved with air conditioning are contaminated. Most individuals who inhale Legionella don’t develop symptoms of infection because the immune system can destroy the bacteria. Those who are at risk for infection are older people, those with pre-existing lung diseases, and those with weakened immune systems.

Symptoms of legionellosis include a high fever, headache, shortness of breath, coughing, muscle aches, confusion, and lack of energy. There are two conditions associated with Legionella infection: Legionnaire’s disease and Pontiac fever. Legionnaire’s disease is a lung infection (pneumonia) with symptoms beginning anywhere from two days to two weeks from the time of infection. Pontiac fever has the same symptoms as Legionnaire’s disease but lasts for two to five days and resolves without treatment. Unlike Legionnaire’s disease, Pontiac fever does not cause pneumonia.

Diagnosis of Legionnaire’s disease can be made using a urine antigen test to detect the bacteria in the urine, growing the bacteria in a culture dish to identify it from the body, and using blood tests. An X-ray and physical exam are used to diagnose pneumonia. Legionnaire’s disease is usually treated with antibiotics. If you have been diagnosed with legionellosis, talk to your doctor about the most current treatment options.

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Condition Specific Organizations

Following organizations serve the condition "Legionellosis" for support, advocacy or research.

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Scientific Literature

Articles from the PubMed Database

Research articles describe the outcome of a single study. They are the published results of original research.
The terms "Legionellosis" returned 76 free, full-text research articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Active Bacterial Core Surveillance for Legionellosis - United States, 2011-2013.
 

Author(s): Kathleen L Dooling, Karrie-Ann Toews, Lauri A Hicks, Laurel E Garrison, Brian Bachaus, Shelley Zansky, L Rand Carpenter, Bill Schaffner, Erin Parker, Susan Petit, Ann Thomas, Stephanie Thomas, Robert Mansmann, Craig Morin, Benjamin White, Gayle E Langley

Journal:

 

During 2000–2011, passive surveillance for legionellosis in the United States demonstrated a 249% increase in crude incidence, although little was known about the clinical course and method of diagnosis. In 2011, a system of active, population-based surveillance for legionellosis ...

Last Updated: 30 Oct 2015

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Utility of PCR, Culture, and Antigen Detection Methods for Diagnosis of Legionellosis.
 

Author(s): Derrick J Chen, Gary W Procop, Sherilynn Vogel, Belinda Yen-Lieberman, Sandra S Richter

Journal: J. Clin. Microbiol.. 2015 Nov;53(11):3474-7.

 

The goal of this retrospective study was to evaluate the performance of different diagnostic tests for Legionnaires' disease in a clinical setting where Legionella pneumophila PCR had been introduced. Electronic medical records at the Cleveland Clinic were searched for Legionella ...

Last Updated: 17 Oct 2015

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Legionellosis in Poland in 2013.
 

Author(s): Hanna Stypułkowska-Misiurewicz, Michał Czerwiński

Journal: Przegl Epidemiol. 2015 ;69(2):235-7, 357-8.

 

The objective of the article is to assess the epidemiological situation of legionellosis in Poland in 2013 in comparison to the preceding years. MATERIAL AND METHODS. The analysis of epidemiological situation was based on the data published in the annual bulletin: "Infectious diseases ...

Last Updated: 3 Aug 2015

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Reviews from the PubMed Database

Review articles summarize what is currently known about a disease. They discuss research previously published by others.
The terms "Legionellosis" returned 5 free, full-text review articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Quinolones versus macrolides in the treatment of legionellosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
 

Author(s): C Burdet, R Lepeule, X Duval, M Caseris, C Rioux, J-C Lucet, Y Yazdanpanah

Journal: J. Antimicrob. Chemother.. 2014 Sep;69(9):2354-60.

 

Legionellosis is a life-threatening disease. The clinical superiority of quinolones or macrolides for treating patients with legionellosis has not been established.

Last Updated: 13 Aug 2014

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Overview of diagnostic and detection methods for legionellosis and Legionella spp.
 

Author(s): H Tronel, P Hartemann

Journal: Lett. Appl. Microbiol.. 2009 Jun;48(6):653-6.

 

Since 1977, the diagnostic tools for Legionnaires' disease have been based on culture and serological investigations. Both methods require considerable time to produce results and have 'low' to 'reasonable' sensitivity. Since the introduction of urinary antigen tests in the mid 1990s, ...

Last Updated: 3 Aug 2009

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[Legionellosis].
 

Author(s): Elisabeth Bouvet

Journal: Med Sci (Paris). ;22(6-7):601-6.

 

Although one does not find the origin of the contamination in the human half of the cases of legionellosis, one knows that this disease is the consequence of the almost obligatory contamination of the networks of installations of hot water by Legionella pneumophila, and the inhalation ...

Last Updated: 10 Jul 2006

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Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

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