Legionnaires’ disease is caused by Legionnaires’ disease bacteria or LDB. This disease is an infection of the lungs. This is a form of pneumonia. There are indeed 43 species of such bacteria that has been identified and over 20 are linked with human illnesses.
Legionella pnuemophila was first discovered in 1977. The organisms’ slow growth as well as special growth requirement has prevented earlier discovery. Legionella pnuemophila is a gram-negative rod which exists in a number of distinguishable serogroups. It is also implicated in wound infections, endocarditis, and pericarditis without any presence of pneumonia.
Sources Of Exposure And Transmission
Some of the sources of this illness will include any warm water system or perhaps device that will disseminate water like sprays, mists, and aerosols. It is highly emphasized that LDB are widely present at low levels in streams, freshwater ponds, mud, lakes, and rivers. But then, the levels of LDB which are found in the natural environment are very slow that it is unlikely which an individual will contract the illness from such sources.
The risk of exposure will actually increase when high concentrations of the organism will grow in water systems. Be reminded that such disease will only occur when there is the presence of contaminated water source. Indeed, domestic water plumbing systems, stagnant water, and cooling towers are considered some of the best conditions for the growth of the organism.
Transmission will occur through:
Aspiration – This may occur when choking during drinking, swallowing, and ingesting process. This will allow oral fluids as well as particles to by-pass natural gag reflexes, and will enter into the respiratory tract and lungs rather than entering into the esophagus and stomach.
Inhalation – This include inhalation of fine sprays, mists, aerosols or other microscopic droplets of water that is contaminated by LDB; thus, providing direct access towards the lungs.
You must remember that there is no evidence that the disease is indeed transmitted from one person to another.
Legionnaires’ disease has actually an incubation period of 2-10 days. Severity will range from a mild cough and low fever towards rapidly progressive pneumonia, coma, and even death. Symptoms will actually vary from one individual to another. But earlier symptoms will include slight fever, aching joints and muscles, loss of appetite, and headache. Some of the later symptoms will include dry cough, high fever, difficulty or shortness of breath, chest pain, chills, and common gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and nausea. For more info, check out this site.