Legionella is a bacteria that can cause a type of pneumonia called Legionnaires' disease. The disease is caused by inhaling mist from water containing the bacteria. The bacteria are present in many different manmade and natural water systems. Each year, 8,000 - 18,000 people in the United States are hospitalized with Legionnaires' disease. The disease is usually treated successfully with antibiotics, but can sometimes be fatal. The disease is not spread from person to person. Certain groups of people are more likely to become seriously ill when infected with Legionella:
- Elderly people.
- People with chronic lung disease.
- People with weakened immune systems because of disease or medications.
- Symptoms of Legionaires' disease include high fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms may occur including abdominal pain, diarrhea or severe body aches. See your primary care provider if you have symptoms.