Legionnaires’ disease- A Serious Type of Pneumonia - Dream Health

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Saturday 4 October 2014

Legionnaires’ disease- A Serious Type of Pneumonia

Legionnaires’ disease
Legionnaires’ disease is a serious type of pneumonia caused by species of Gram negative aerobic bacteria which belongs to genus legionella bacteria. Being serious, it could also be a fatal form of pneumonia and though not all cases of Legionnaires ’ disease are severe, around ten percent of cases could be fatal.

With over forty types of Legionella bacteria, only a few cause disease in human which are mostly associated with human disease known as pneumophila and longbeachae. The symptoms of this disease is same as in the case of severe flu infection that includes fever, headache which often tends to get severe, shortness of breath, accompanied with muscle aches and pains and sometimes a dry cough.

 It takes between two to ten days for symptom to appear from the time the infection appears and in some cases the symptoms starts to appear after five or six days.

The Legionella bacteria are normally found in the atmosphere and thrive in water and warm damp places. They are also found in bodies of water, soil as well as potting mix.

Breathing in Fine Droplets - Aerosols

People tend to get affected with this disease by breathing in the Legionella bacteria through very fine droplets of contaminated water known as aerosols. It is not contagious and does not spread directly from person to person.

Sometimes man-made water systems could provide environments which enable Legionella bacteria to breed in large numbers which may include showers, spa pool, fountains, as well as cooling towers which are associated with air conditioning and industrial cooling processes, though the evaporative units used in home air conditioning units are not known to cause Legionnaires’ diseases.

 Large buildings like hotels, hospitals, office blocks or museums tend to be vulnerable to legionella contamination due to the large complex water supply systems wherein the bacteria tend to spread quickly.

Most of the people who tend to be exposed to Legionella bacteria do not get affected with this disease but the risk of this disease increases with age especially with those who smoke while young people and especially children rarely get affected with Legionnaires’ disease.

Three Tests – Sputum/Blood/Urine

Moreover, those with long term medical conditions with weak immune system like cancer diabetes, lung disease and transplant recipients could be at risk of being affected with this disease. People having the symptoms of the infection have to undergo three important tests for diagnosing the disease which are the sputum test, two kinds of blood test, which are taken with more than four weeks apart and a urine test.

Treatment for this disease is done through a course of antibiotics which is taken either orally through pills or through a continuous drip in the vein in the arm and the duration of the antibiotic treatment may depend on the severity of the condition which usually last for a week though it may prolong up to three weeks.

Since Legionnaires’ disease can be serious, people with pre-existing health conditions may be admitted in hospital for a few weeks in order to monitor their health. Most of the people tend to make a complete recovery from this disease though in some cases it could lead to further life threatening situations.

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