Legionnaires' disease

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Related to Legionnaires' disease: pneumonia, Pontiac fever, Legionellosis

Legionnaires' disease

A type of pneumonia usually caused by infection with the bacterium Legionella pneumophila, but occasionally with a related species (such as L. micdadei or L. dumoffii). The disease was first observed in an epidemic among those attending an American Legion convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1976. The initial symptoms are headache, fever, muscle aches, and a generalized feeling of discomfort. The fever rises rapidly, reaching 102–105°F (32–41°C), and is usually accompanied by cough, shortness of breath, and chest pains. Abdominal pain and diarrhea are often present. The mortality rate can be as high as 15% in untreated or improperly diagnosed cases. Erythromycin, new-generation fluroquinolones, and rifampicin are considered highly effective medications, whereas the penicillins and cephalosporins are ineffective.

While epidemics of Legionnaires' disease (also referred to as legionellosis) can often be traced to a common source (cooling tower, potable water, or hot tub), most cases seem to occur sporadically. It is estimated that Legionella spp. account for approximately 4% of all community- and hospital-acquired pneumonia. Legionnaires' disease is most fequently associated with persons of impaired immune status. Legionella bacteria are commonly found in fresh water and moist soils worldwide and are often spread to humans through inhalation of aerosols containing the bacteria. Legionnaires' disease is not a communicable disease, indicating that human infection is not part of the survival strategy of these bacteria. Therefore, the legionellae are considered opportunistic pathogens of humans. It is technology (air conditioning) and the ability to extend life through medical advances (such as transplantation and treatments for terminal diseases) that have brought these bacteria into proximity with a susceptible population.

For most humans exposed to L. pneumophila, infection is asymptomatic or short-lived. This is attributed to a potent cellular immune response in healthy individuals. Recovery from Legionnaires' disease often affords immunity against future infection. However, no vaccine exists at the present time. See Medical bacteriology, Pneumonia

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Bioscience. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Legionnaires’ disease

28 American Legion conventioneers die of flu-like disease in Philadelphia (1976). [Am. Hist.: Facts (1976), 573, 656]
See: Disease
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Legionnaires' disease cannot be passed from person-to-person."
Treatments for Legionnaires' disease include antibiotics fed directly into a vein, oxygen through a face mask or nose tube or a machine to help the patient breath.
Her research interests are surveillance of Legionnaires' disease, and the molecular subtyping and genomic diversity of Legionella.
Symptoms of Legionnaires' disease include a bad cough which doesn't go away, severe chest pain, difficulty in breathing properly, high temperature and feeling as if you have severe flu.
"We're trying to create a foundation to allow us to steer away from developing Legionnaires' diseases and this is the first time anyone's ever done this."
"We are advising people who have travelled or are planning to travel to Palma Nova, in Majorca, to be aware of the signs and symptoms of Legionnaires' disease, which are initially flu-like.
According to a Vital Signs report released June 6 as a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report study, there were 2,809 confirmed cases of health care-associated Legionnaires' disease, including 66 deaths, in 2015.
The government of UK also updated its travel advisory but said that the overall risk of Legionnaires' disease for UK travellers to Dubai is low except for persons with established risk factors for Legionnaires' disease.
Legionella is a waterborne bacterium responsible for Legionnaires' disease, a severe pneumonia that occurs most frequently in susceptible persons, including those aged [greater than or equal to] 50 years, former or current smokers, and those with chronic diseases or immunosuppression (1).
About 5,000 cases of Legionnaires' disease and at least 20 outbreaks are now reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year (Adams et al., 2015).
Colin Cookson, 72, and his wife Iris, 66, claim broken air conditioning in their hotel room may have contributed to Colin falling ill with legionnaires' disease, a serious lung infection.
SACRAMENTO, California, Dhu-AlQa'dah 16, 1436, August 31, 2015, SPA -- Prison officials say they have confirmed six San Quentin State Prison inmates are ill with Legionnaires' disease, according to AP.