Legionnaires Disease | FAQ


What is Legionnaires’ disease?

Legionnaires’ disease is a very serious type of pneumonia caused by Legionella, a type of bacteria found primarily in warm water environments. Both the disease and the bacterium were discovered following an outbreak traced to a 1976 American Legion convention in Philadelphia.

Legionnaires’ disease usually develops within 2 to 14 days after exposure to Legionella bacteria. Initial symptoms may include loss of energy, headache, nausea, aching muscles, high fever (often exceeding 104°F), and chest pains. Later, many bodily systems, as well as the mind, may be affected. The disease eventually will cause death if the body’s high fever and antibodies cannot defeat it. Victims who survive may suffer permanent physical or mental impairment.

The CDC advises that if you have pneumonia symptoms, see a doctor right away and mention if you have used a hot tub, traveled, or been in the hospital within the last two weeks.

Pontiac fever, a flu-like illness, is also caused by Legionella but is not as serious as Legionnaires’ disease. Most people who get Pontiac fever recover within five days, without having to be hospitalized.

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