Article overview Legionnaires' disease
- Causes and risk factors
- Examinations and diagnosis
- Disease course and prognosis
Legionnaire's disease: description
Legionnaire's disease is a feverish infection caused by certain bacteria called Legionella. It leads to pneumonia with additional flu-like symptoms. Legionnaire's disease was first diagnosed in 1976. It got its name because war veterans were infected with legionellosis at a conference in Philadelphia.
Mainly older, chronically ill people with weakened immune systems suffer from Legionnaire's disease. Patients who receive immunosuppressive therapy, such as chemotherapy or cortisone therapy, are particularly at risk. Overall, more men than women are affected by Legionnaire's disease, especially from the age of 50 years.
All cases of Legionnaire's disease must be reported to the Health Department. In Germany there are about 600 reported illnesses every year. However, it is assumed that the number of unreported cases is significantly higher, as not every Legionnaire's disease is recognized as such. It is often confused with other and much more common forms of pneumonia - only up to five percent of all pneumonia makes up the legionellosis.
The Legionnaire's disease is spread worldwide and appears either as a single case of illness (sporadic), or it infected several people simultaneously (epidemic).To the table of contents
Legionnaire's disease: symptoms
Legionnaire's disease begins after an incubation period of two to ten days. This corresponds to the time between the infection with the bacteria and the onset of symptoms. Important legionnaires' disease symptoms are high fever, which can quickly rise to 40 ° C and chills. In addition, a so-called atypical pneumonia develops. This is often accompanied by dry, unproductive coughing. In addition, the patients have a lung or laryngitis and cold, limb and muscle pain. Typical for a legionellosis are also complaints in the gastrointestinal tract. These include nausea and diarrhea. Some patients with Legionnaire's disease develop encephalitis, which is associated with confusion.
To distinguish from Legionnaire's disease is that Pontiac feverthat is triggered by the same bacteria. In contrast to Legionnaire's disease, only flu-like symptoms without pneumonia occur in Pontiac fever. The incubation period is only one to three days, and the infection is altogether more harmless than in Legionnaires' disease.