Legionellosis – United States
Two prisoners in a Connecticut prison have tested positive for Legionnaire’s disease.
The source of infection is unknown, but generally the bacteria causing the disease are normally found in large systems of standing water. Symptoms include a severe form of pneumonia. It is treatable with antibiotics.
The two individuals have been treated in the hospital. After being transferred back to the prison, they were moved away from the rest of the population.
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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