The Facts on Legionella and Legionnaires Disease

What is it?
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Legionnaires Disease is a severe lung infection caused by Legionella bacteria and can be fatal if not treated promptly.

Legionella is a naturally occurring bacterium and is present in bodies of water and soil.

Legionnaires Disease is not spread from person-to-person contact, nor is it airborne. People contract the disease by aspirating, or breathing in, water vapor infected with the bacteria. It can ONLY be contracted from the environment.

If infected, patients will experience pneumonia-like symptoms approximately 2 to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria. Treatment for Legionnaires Disease involves anti-biotics and patients are often hospitalized. The death rate for those infected with Legionnaires disease is 5-30%, according to the CDC.

  • Legionnaires’ Disease or Legionellosis can cause a severe bacterial infection of the respiratory tract that has pneumonia like symptoms, and is potentially fatal.
  • There are over 40 known species of the Legionella bacteria.
  • The majority of Legionella infections are caused by the species Legionella pneumophila.
  • Legionella bacteria is most commonly found in water. Contraction of the disease most often happens through inhalation or aspiration of the bacteria-infested water into the lungs.
  • Biofilm is a common breeding ground for Legionella. A biofilm, which is prevalent in all water systems, is any group of microorganisms in which cells stick to each other on a surface.
  • In the past, methods of Legionella control have been saturating the water with chemicals, and ultra-high water temperatures. Neither method has been shown to penetrate biofilm or provide much, if any, residual disinfection.

Click to read more information from Enrich about symptoms and the effect copper silver ionization can have on Legionella.