Legionnaire's Disease

Legionnaire's Disease

Public Health Fact Sheet

What is Legionnaire's Disease?
Legionnaire's Disease is a bacterial disease that causes a severe, sometimes life-threatening, pneumonia.

How is Legionnaire's Disease spread?
This disease is airborne and results when someone inhales the aerosolized bacteria from an infected water source as may be found in an air-conditioning cooling tower, hot water system, hot tubs or humidifiers.   Legionnaire's disease is not spread by person-to-person.

How long after exposure until symptoms begin?
Symptoms usually begin 2-10 days after exposure.

Who can get Legionnaire's Disease?
This disease occurs most frequently in older individuals, with most cases diagnosed in people over age 50.   People prone to infection include smokers, those with suppressed immune systems, and those who have chronic illnesses such as diabetes, kidney disease, and lung disease are at higher risk.

How is Legionnaire's Disease treated?
Legionnaire's Disease can be life threatening and often requires hospitalization. Seek medical attention immediately if you suspect you may be infected. Antibiotics may be required. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment helps insure a better response to therapy and may assist public health officials in identifying the source of infection.

Additional information is available on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/legionella/
Symptoms of Legionnaire's Disease

  • Headache
  • Lack of appetite
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • High fever (102F-105F)
  • Other signs of pneumonia
  • Non-productive cough
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid or labored breathing

February 2020