Legionnaires’ Disease is a type of pneumonia or lung infection caused by Legionella bacteria. Legionnaires’ Disease is generally contracted when individuals breathe in particles contained with the Legionella bacteria.
Generally, Legionnaires’ Disease presents symptoms similar to other respiratory infections, but without proper treatment, can be fatal. Individuals with pulmonary or respiratory comorbidities, and elderly, are more vulnerable to the disease.
Initial symptoms generally present as headaches, muscle aches or high fever. Other symptoms may develop thereafter, including cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, as well as confusion and other mental changes. Typically, symptoms begin two to ten days following exposure to the bacteria, but can take longer. Legionnaires’ Disease can also lead to respiratory failure, septic shock and kidney failure. Needless to say, all of these complications can be fatal, if not properly treated.
Legionnaires’ disease is diagnosed through a urine test, blood test, as well as chest x-rays. Chest x-rays are important to determine the extent of infection on a patient’s lungs. Once properly diagnosed, Legionnaires’ Disease is generally treated with antibiotics; however, the more severely infected individuals require a stay in the hospital or other healthcare facility.
Legionnaires’ Disease may sound like an older or antiquated medical condition; however, outbreaks continue to this day.
If you believe you have been exposed to Legionnaires’ Disease, please seek the appropriate medical care and treatment, and contact the Law Offices of Heiting & Irwin for an initial free consultation.