Have you or a member of your family been affected by an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease? Cory Watson Attorneys are here to help. Get answers to the questions you may have about this illness in our disease FAQ.
Our firm has represented hundreds of Legionnaires’ patients sickened or killed by the disease across the United States. We know that an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease may have fatal consequences for your family, and we are ready to fight on your behalf.
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What is Legionnaires’ disease?
Legionnaires’ disease is a form of bacterial pneumonia that typically affects those with a weakened immune system. Legionnaires’ disease cannot be spread by contact with a person who is sick. Typically, infected patients are exposed to the bacterium after breathing in mist from water that contains the bacteria Legionella.
Who is at risk for Legionnaires’ disease?
The elderly, people who smoke, those with diabetes and any other illnesses that suppress the immune system may be in danger of contracting Legionnaires’ disease more readily than others.
Are there different types of Legionnaires’ disease?
Yes. There are three different types of illness, including:
- Travel-associated Legionnaires’ disease
As its name implies, travel-associated Legionnaires’ is associated with travel to hotels or aboard cruise ships. It is rarely detected by individual clinicians or health departments, as short-term travelers typically disperse from the source of infection before developing their symptoms.
- Community-acquired Legionnaires’ disease
This type of illness is caught in a community setting. For instance, a mall might be an area where someone could contract community-acquired Legionnaires’ disease.
- Nosocomial Legionnaires’ disease
As the hospital-acquired version of the illness, nosocomial Legionnaires’ is transmitted primarily through the facility’s water supply. The most distressing aspect of nosocomial Legionnaires’ is that the health of the patients who contract it is already compromised, leaving them susceptible to the damaging effects of the disease.
How common is Legionnaires’ disease?
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 1,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease are reported to the organization annually – although 25,000 cases are treated per year. Approximately 4,000 people die every year from this severe illness.
What are the symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease?
Common symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include:
- High fever
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle aches
- Chronic pain
- Loss of appetite
- Chest pain
It’s crucial to seek immediate hospitalization for Legionnaire’s disease, as it can lead to severe health complications and death when left untreated.
What tests are used to detect Legionnaires’ disease?
There are three tests recommended by medical professionals to detect the presence of Legionella in a patient with pneumonia. Those include:
- Blood Test
Blood is drawn on the patient immediately after illness and paired with samples from tests taken several weeks later to determine whether levels of antibodies indicate the presence of Legionella bacteria.
- Cultured Bacteria Test
If Legionella bacteria is cultured from a lung biopsy specimen, respiratory secretions, or various other sites, the diagnosis of Legionnaires’ disease is considered confirmed.
- Urine Test
This urine test detects antigens to the Legionella bacteria.