16 Nov 2016

Not everyone is an expert when it comes to legionella and legionnaires’ disease, which is why we are there to offer you the help and advice you need – that includes training, and risk assessments. But knowing something about the bacteria and the disease that it can cause could be extremely helpful in your ability to contain and combat it. Here are some facts that you may not have known:


  1. On 27th July 1976 the first death attributed to legionnaires’ disease was discovered. The deceased was one of the men who had attended the convention for the American Legion in Philadelphia the day before. His name was Ray Brennan.
  1. By mid-August of 1976, 18 deaths had occurred from the newly named legionnaires’ disease. The cause was traced back to the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia.

Bellevue Stratford Hotel

  1. Legionnaires’ disease is fatal in around 10 percent of cases. These fatalities tend to occur mostly in the elderly, the very young, or those with compromised immune systems.
  1. Legionnaires’ disease cannot be contracted by any means other than breathing in droplets of infected water. It cannot be transmitted from person to person.
  1. Legionella bacteria occurs naturally in open water such as lakes and streams. It only becomes a problem when it enters man-made water systems.

Legionella is naturally occurring in lakes

  1. Despite the prevalence of legionella bacteria, the disease is rare in the UK. In 2013, 284 people were treated for legionnaires’ disease, and 31 percent of them had contracted it abroad.
  1. Legionnaires’ disease is treated with antibiotics. The length of the course of treatment will depend on how severe the infection was, and whether the patient has any additional underlying problems.
  1. If a doctor diagnoses legionnaires’ disease they are under legal obligation to notify their local authority under The Health Protection (Notification) Regulations 2010. An investigation will then take place.
  1. Pontiac fever is a form of legionnaires’ disease. It is a milder form of the disease.

Legionnaires disease presents with flu-like symptoms

  1. Symptoms of legionnaires’ disease are flu like. It presents with headaches, fever, muscle aches, and in severe cases pneumonia symptoms.

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