Dec 28, 2023
Legionnaires' disease is a severe example of pneumonia, which is an infection-related lung inflammation. The reason for this is the legionella bacteria.
The main way that one acquires legionnaires' disease is by breathing in bacteria that are present in water or soil. Legionnaires' disease is more common in older people, smokers, and those with weakened immune systems.
Furthermore, the legionella bacteria is the cause of Pontiac fever, a milder form of the flu. While most cases of Pontiac fever resolve on their own, untreated cases of legionnaires' disease can be fatal. Fast antibiotic therapy is typically effective in curing Legionnaires' disease; nevertheless, some people continue to have symptoms even after treatment.
Pontiac fever, a mild variant of legionnaires' disease, is characterized by fever, chills, headache, and muscle aches. Pontiac fever symptoms often go away in two to five days and do not affect your lungs.
The bacterium Legionella pneumophila is the primary cause of Legionnaires' disease in the majority of cases. Legionella bacteria can be found in outside soil and water, although they rarely cause sickness. Air conditioners and other man-made water systems, however, may host legionella bacteria.
Although household plumbing can expose one to legionnaires' disease, large buildings have seen the majority of outbreaks, probably due to complex systems that facilitate the bacteria's growth and dissemination. Moreover, water is not required for residential or automotive air conditioners to cool.
Legionnaires' disease usually develops two to ten days after exposure to the legionella bacteria. It frequently begins with any of the following signs and symptoms:
By the second or third day, you will begin to notice more symptoms, which could include:
The majority of cases of legionnaires' disease are lung-related, yet they can sometimes sporadically result in sores and infections in other parts of the body like the heart.
Most illnesses are caused by breathing in minute water droplets tainted with legionella bacteria. This could be mist from a shower, faucet, or whirlpool, or it could be water from a massive building's ventilation system. Epidemics have been linked to:
There are other ways the virus might spread than breathing water droplets, like:
Not everyone exposed to legionella bacteria becomes ill. Your chance of getting the infection is increased by the following:
Legionnaires' disease can be a problem in healthcare facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes, where illnesses can spread quickly and patients are more vulnerable to infection.
Legionnaires' illness is akin to other types of pneumonia. To help identify the presence of legionella bacteria as soon as possible, your doctor may take a test on your urine to look for legionella antigens, which are foreign substances that trigger the immune system. Additional testing can include:
The sickness caused by legionnaires is treated with antibiotics. The earlier therapy is started, the less likely major issues are to occur. Therapy frequently requires hospitalization. Pontiac fever has no long-term complications and goes away on its own without medical assistance.
It is possible to prevent outbreaks of the disease caused by legionnaires' disease, but doing so requires water management systems in buildings that ensure regular water cleaning and monitoring. Give up smoking to lower your own risk.
The following are a few legionnaires' disease side effects that could be fatal:
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