Healthcare Providers

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of
Legionnaires’ Disease

As a healthcare provider, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of Legionnaires Disease in order to test, diagnose & treat accordingly. If not treated promptly, it can progress to pneumonia with respiratory failure, shock and multiorgan failure. 

Symptoms generally appear within 2-10 days after exposure and may include:

Specialized lab tests are required to identify Legionnaires Disease. Three types of tests are used by healthcare providers:

Treatment and the Risks

An early diagnosis and prompt treatment with an appropriate antibiotic will significantly increase the chances of survival. Unfortunately, many who do survive still experience prolonged physical and psychological impairment. Anyone can get Legionnaires Disease, but people with compromised immune or lung health are at higher risk, and men are more likely to than women to get the disease. Children can be diagnosed with Legionnaires Disease, but it is quite rare unless contracted in a hospital setting. Below are a few risk factors to classify someone as higher risk:

Prescribe the correct treatment early to optimize patient outcomes

When medical professionals at a hospital identify a cluster of infections originating from the same facility or location, the normal protocol is to contact the local health department, who will then open an investigation to determine if there has been contamination.

Diagnosing the Disease:

Underlying diseases and advanced age also increase the risk of dying due to LD. According to WHO, the death rate may be as high as 40-80% for immune-suppressed people who do not receive treatment and 5-30% for those who do.