Legionnaires’ Disease – What You Need to Know



With the recent outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in NYC, here are some important facts to be aware of.  Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia caused by legionella bacteria. While the current outbreak has been concentrated primarily to the South Bronx, it’s important to note that it is very rare overall in the US with less than 20,000 reported cases each year. It is treatable by a medical professional and requires a medical diagnosis.

Is the disease contagious?  No. Legionnaires’ disease is not spread from person to person. People only get sick by breathing in water vapor containing the bacteria (for example, by inhaling contaminated mist from faucets, showers, whirlpools or cooling towers). People who are sick cannot make others sick.

Who is at risk?  Groups at high risk include people who are middle-aged or older—especially cigarette smokers—people with chronic lung disease or weakened immune systems and people who take medicines that weaken their immune systems (immunosuppressive drugs).

What are the symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease?  Symptoms resemble other types of pneumonia and can include fever, chills, muscle aches and cough. Some people may also have headaches, fatigue, loss of appetite, confusion or diarrhea.

If you notice symptoms of Legionnare’s Disease, see a medical professional right away.

For more information on Legionnaires’ Disease: