6 issues you’ll want to learn about Legionnaires’ illness


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4. Symptoms

The signs of Legionnaires’ disease are very similar to those associated with a moderate flu, including chills, muscle pain, upset stomach, fever, and cough. Some patients infected with Legionnaires’ disease will develop a disease known as Pontiac fever, a respiratory disease that can make breathing difficult but is usually not fatal.

Because a cursory medical examination may not help distinguish Legionnaires’ disease from the flu, anyone who thinks they have been exposed to Legionella bacteria should talk to their doctor. If you live in a large building that uses industrial water systems for air conditioning, hot tubs, fountains, etc., you should be aware of the risks.

5. Diagnosis

It can be difficult to differentiate Legionnaires’ disease from Pontiac fever, which it looks a lot like, or even from the common flu, which shares many of the same symptoms. If a doctor suspects Legionnaires’ disease is the central cause of a patient’s health problems, they may order a chest x-ray (which can show the extent of a lung infection), a urine test, or a sample. sputum (or phlegm).

If a patient is suspected to have Pontiac fever, a doctor may order blood or urine tests. Yet even with these kinds of tests, it can be difficult to correctly diagnose Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever in a patient. Often, doctors diagnose patients by linking them together – for example, if several people become ill with a similar illness in the same building.


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