ABC Medical Center > Legionnaires’ disease

What is Legionnaires’ disease?

18:48 - 5 December , 2023


It is a serious lung infection caused by the bacteria called legionella, which causes inflammation in the lungs that can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated promptly.

Legionella is a common bacteria that is normally found in soil and water, so it is easy to come into contact with it, which does not necessarily mean that you will contract Legionnaires’ disease, since only people with a depressed immune system, addicted to tobacco, or older adults, are at greater risk of contracting this disease.

Legionnaires’ disease spreads by inhaling contaminated water droplets in:

  • Jacuzzis.
  • Swimming pools.
  • Fountains.
  • Bathtubs.
  • Contaminated water tanks.
  • Water heaters.
  • Air Conditioning.

Among the potential risks identified for developing this condition are:

  • Being an older adult.
  • Smoking.
  • People with a depressed immune system, such as those with HIV/AIDS.
  • Diabetes.
  • Cancer.
  • Pulmonary emphysema.
  • Kidney problems.

Signs and symptoms Legionnaires’ disease

  • Headache.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Fever of 40ºC or higher.
  • Coughing fits with phlegm and blood.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Sore chest.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomit.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Mental alterations.

Legionnaires’ disease possible complications can be respiratory and kidney failure, as well as septic shock with fatal consequences.

Diagnosis and treatment Legionnaires’ disease

Once the doctor analyzes your symptoms and clinical history, they will perform a physical examination and request a series of tests to rule out other lung pathologies and confirm the diagnosis, such as blood and urine tests, x-rays, computed tomography, lumbar puncture, and sputum sample analysis.

The treatment to be followed is based on the intensive use of antibiotics, so therapy in a hospital will probably be needed. Serious complications are unlikely when Legionnaires’ disease is diagnosed and treated early.

In ABC Medical Center Internal Medicine Department, we provide you with health care services with the highest quality and safety, from prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and follow-up of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological conditions, both chronic-degenerative and acute, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


  • Gea-Izquierdo E. Legionelosis. Rev Cubana Med Gen Integr. 2014;30(4):509-514.
  • Manzanares LGL, Montiel BNM, del Real SSGME, et al. Detección de Legionella pneumophila en los sistemas de agua de la Facultad de Odontología de la UAEM. Rev ADM. 2014;71(5):216-220.
  • García MM, González SN, Franco VH, et al. Evaluación de la viabilidad de Legionella pneumophila en muestras de agua. Rev Cubana Med Trop. 2019;71(2):1-9.
  • Molina EE. Contaminantes biológicos del aire interior de la vivienda: factores contribuyentes, afecciones relacionadas y medidas correctivas. Rev Cubana Hig Epidemiol. 2015;53(1):.

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