Legionnaires' disease develops between 2-10 days (usually 6-7 days) with flu-like symptoms such as a high temperature, fever, muscle pain, headache and coughing. Pontiac fever and Lochgoilhead fever are the non-pneumonia versions.
Normally contracted by inhaling aerosols (small water droplets that evaporate very quickly) from a water source contaminated with Legionella bacteria.
Who is at most risk?
- Men appear more susceptible than women;
- Immuno-suppressed people;
- People over the age of 50;
- People suffering from diabetes;
- Alcoholics, smokers; and
People suffering from heart, lung, liver and kidney disease.
If you suspect you have been in contact with Legionella and have breathing difficulties it is important to get medical attention as soon as possible as it can lead to severe pneumonia, and you may need to be on antibiotics for a few weeks. If it is left untreated it can be fatal.