Legionnaires' disease is a type of pneumonia caused by bacteria. You usually get it by breathing in mist from water that contains the bacteria. The mist may come from hot tubs, showers or air-conditioning units for large buildings. The bacteria don't spread from person to person.
Symptoms of Legionnaires' disease include fever, chills, a cough and sometimes muscle aches and headaches. Other types of pneumonia have similar symptoms. You will probably need a chest x-ray to diagnose the pneumonia. Lab tests can detect the specific bacteria that cause Legionnaires' disease.
The bacteria are more likely to make you sick if you
Legionnaires' disease is serious and can be life-threatening. However, most people recover with antibiotic treatment.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
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|Date last updated: 10 September 2008
Topic last reviewed: 06 June 2008