March 8, 2011

What is Legionnaires’ Disease

Posted in Category : Natural Cures

Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia that is very severe and can cause a very serious problem, even death. This disease is caused by a bacteria known as legionella and therefore, is also often referred to as legionellosis. Though not every case of Legionnaires’ disease is fatal, the mortality rates of the condition are as high as 10 percent. The bacteria itself has more than forty strains, and it can be a little difficult at first to identify which strain of the bacteria is associated with the infection to determine the appropriate treatment. There are two strains, one pneumophila and another longbeachae, which more commonly affect humans. The symptoms themselves are usually minor and, may not be associated with the severest form of infection immediately.


Since the causes of Legionnaires’ disease are bacterial, the symptoms appear similar to bacterial flu. Initial symptoms are usually mild, but as the disease progresses, the symptoms may become extremely intense, mimicking those of a severe flu infection. There is severe muscle ache, shortness of breath, cough and cold, and general malaise. There could also be very high fever at this stage. From the time the infection first occurs, it may take a few days for the first symptoms to set it. After five or six days of the first symptoms, the condition usually takes a turn for the worse, and the patient becomes critically ill.


Legionnaires’ disease is caused by the legionella bacteria that are found in the environment naturally. Like fungi, the bacteria too thrive in warm and moist areas and are found extensively in soil and stale water. The bacteria can be inhaled when a person is too close to the place where the bacteria are found. Showers spas and pools of water, along with industrial air-conditioning and cooling processes in industries are some of the other areas where these bacteria may be found.

Am I at Risk? Legionella bacteria is present in our environment, and at some point in time, all of us are exposed to them. Still, not all people who get exposed to these bacteria get infected by them. This is because the body’s immune system is able to fight off the bacteria on its own. People who have lowered immunity, especially those who have been under long-term medical care, or those who smoke regularly, are more prone to developing severe conditions due to the bacteria. Legionnaires’ disease is extremely uncommon in young men, women, and children, unless they have a very low immunity.

Diagnosis of the Legionnaires’ disease. There are three main tests through which the symptoms of this condition can be diagnosed. The presence of the bacteria in the bodily fluids can be ascertained by examining the blood, sputum and the urine. The tests are usually done twice, with an interval of four weeks between them. The test is only performed when you begin to show the symptoms of the condition and the doctor suspects that you have legionnaires’ disease.


Most people who suffer from legionnaires can be treated in a hospital. This treatment is usually performed in an intensive care unit (ICU), and the patient is given critical care. The earlier the treatment begins, the easier it is to treat the condition. Antibiotics are used depending on the strain of the bacteria that has caused the condition. In more severe cases, a broad spectrum antibiotic may be used.

Legionnaires’ disease prevention is an important part of the overall care. Since the bacteria thrives in a warm and moist condition, it is important to take care that such conditions do not develop in and around your own place of habitat.