Legionellosis – United States
At least 10 people fall ill with Legionnaires’ disease in Wantagh, New York.
All cases were reported within a one-mile radius of each other. While the source was not yet identified, there is a thorough investigation of cooling towers in the area.
Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, high fever, muscle aches, and headaches. People older than 50, smokers, and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of contracting the disease.
Photo: Electron micrograph of L. pneumophila, responsible for over 90% of Legionnaire disease cases.
Legionnaires’ disease is a form of atypical pneumonia caused by any species of Legionella bacteria. Signs and symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, high fever, muscle pains, and headaches. The symptoms often begins 2–10 days after exposure.
The bacterium is found naturally in fresh water. It can contaminate hot water tanks, hot tubs, and cooling towers of large air conditioners. It is usually spread by breathing in mist that contains the bacteria.
It typically does not spread directly between people, and most people who are exposed do not become infected.
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