• By Vivien Williams

Legionnaires’ disease: What you need to know

September 1, 2015

Legionnaires' disease has surfaced in Illinois, California and areas of New York and Pennsylvania. The disease is caused by a type of bacterium called Legionella, which can be found in fresh water. Symptoms include severe pneumonia and, in some cases, the infection can be deadly. Should you worry about it? Mayo Clinic infectious diseases specialist Dr. Pritish Tosh says, "While Legionnaires' disease can be a very serious infection, the general population should not panic about the recent outbreaks. Legionnaires' disease is usually not a problem when concentrations are low. Unless you've been directly exposed to it, you're really not at risk." He says the infection is not spread from person to person. Instead, you get it by inhaling the bacteria that's been aerosolized.This image depicts a large grouping of Gram-negative Legionella pneumophila bacteria.

Treatment for Legionnaires' disease includes antibiotics. Fast treatment is key in order to avoid serious and potentially deadly complications.

Journalists: Sound bites are available in the downloads. [TRT 1:34]  Click here for the transcript.

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