Legionnaires Disease FAQ

Have you or a member of your family been affected by an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease? Legionnaires’ disease is important to diagnose and report because its identification implies the presence of an environmental source to which other susceptible individuals are likely to be exposed. A case of Legionnaires’ disease will go undetected unless special laboratory tests are performed. Unfortunately, most U.S. hospitals still have not made these tests routinely available.

Our firm has represented Legionnaires’ patients killed or injured by the disease across the United States. We know that an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease may have grave or fatal consequences for your family, and we are ready to fight on your behalf. Call (877) 562-0000 or complete an online form for a free, no-obligations review of your case today.

Knowledge is power, and Cory Watson attorneys are here to help. Get answers to the questions you may have about this illness in our Legionnaires’ disease FAQ.

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 this illness, and those include:

  1. 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; travelers typically disperse from the source of infection before developing symptoms.
  1. Community-acquired Legionnaires’ disease
    This type of the illness is acquired within a community setting. For instance, a mall might be an area where someone could contract community-acquired Legionnaires’ disease.
  1. 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 more susceptible to the damaging effects of the disease.

How common is Legionnaires’ disease?

According to data from 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?

Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include:

  • High fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle aches
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Chronic pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches

Promptly treating the disease is a crucial factor in preventing the condition from worsening, which can lead to death in some instances.

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:

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Urine Test
    This urine test detects antigens to the Legionella bacteria.

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