Legionnaires Disease and Pontiac Fever With Pulmonary Infection 

Legionnaires Disease & Lung Infection. Legionnaire Disease Symptoms & Poor Swimming Pool Chemistry & Pool Water Maintenance. 

This particular bacteria got its name in 1976 when the Philadelphia convention of the American Legion had an outbreak of this kind of pneumonia (lung infection).  Most people who contract Pontiac Fever do not need to be hospitalized and normally recover within 5 - 7 days.  

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Every year between 8,000 - 20,000 people are sent to the hospital in the U.S.  Many infections are not reported or diagnosed so this number might be higher or lower.  Most outbreaks and infections are in the Summer and early Fall and have similar symptoms to the swine flu. 

Symptoms Of Legionnaires Disease

They will normally develop within 2 - 10 days after contact with the bacteria and usually include: 

  • Headache
  • Loss of energy and appetite
  • Nausea
  • Chest pains
  • Muscle aches
  • High sustained fever

Legionnaires' disease normally affects the lungs but left untreated, and in severe cases, can cause infections in other parts of the body.  Pontiac Fever is a mild form of Legionnaires' disease and can produce similar symptoms including chills, high fever, headache and muscle aches.  The main difference is Pontiac Fever doesn't infect your lungs and symptoms usually clear after a few days. 

How Do I Get Legionella Pneumonia

This pneumonia is a pulmonary infection and is contracted by inhaling water vapor or droplets containing the legionella bacteria.  

Legionnaires Disease



Legionnaires' disease and Pontiac Fever is not spread through person-to-person contact.  It normally is spread through inhaling the bacteria.  The elderly, smokers, and people with compromised immune systems are more susceptible to legionnaires' disease.

Some doctors believe this bacteria is present in some drinking water, public swimming pools, and hot tubs. Lack of good hygiene, sanitizing, and pool chlorine can contribute to transmission and outbreak.  It may also be transmitted be contaminated water and cuts on the skin. 

When Do I Get Treated For Legionnaire Disease

You will want to see your doctor if you think you've been exposed to the legionella bacteria.  Fast diagnoses and treatment can help shorten the recovery period and prevent serious complications. For those people that are a higher risk, immediate medical attention is critical.

Precautions Against Lung Infection

It's an environmental disease because it is transmitted from an environment (water) to a person.  Commercial and residential plumbing can be properly maintained and the right amount of sanitizer or swimming pool chlorine can be used to kill the bacteria. 

You must prevent and disinfect all areas in question, especially for public swimming pools.  Legionnaires Disease can be serious and life-threatening but most people should recover with an early visit to the doctor and the right antibiotic treatment.  I have heard about Legionella Pneumonia and Pontiac Fever and wanted to give you some information that I have picked up in the last 20 years of taking care of swimming pools.

This page is not to be taken as medical advice and is for informational purposes only.

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