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Legionnaire’s Disease Essay

1707 words - 7 pages

Legionnaires disease, characterized as a form of pneumonia, is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Legionella. Legionnaires disease accumulated its name after it spread to more than 4,000 World War II Legionnaires, as well as their family and friends, which all gathered to participate in the 58th American Legion's convention in Philadelphia, about 600 of whom were staying at the hotel this convention was being held at. The day after the convention was being hosted, a great number of the people began feeling ill. No one began to think anything of it, because the symptoms were beginning to be very similar to any other stomach flu. It wasn’t until the American Legionnaires started dying of an illness no one could figure out what was, that endless tests were completed, and Medical specialists came to a conclusion that a bacteria, Legionella, was spreading through the air conditioning vents in the convention hotel. (Legionnaires disease: A history if its discovery). This non contagious infection enters the body through contaminated bacteria into water vapor that we breathe in, affecting the bronchial tubes, and lungs. Legionnaires disease was then given it’s name in 1976, after it killed 34 people from the convention in Philadelphia.
People affected with Legionnaires disease often have signs and symptoms extremely similar to signs associated with the flu, such as muscle aches, headaches, loss of appetite, and cough. Fevers tend to get high, ranging from temperatures of 102-105 degrees. Symptoms of Legionnaires disease usually do not show up until 2-10 days after a person is infected with the bacteria, and people normally experience other symptoms such as diarrhea and stomach cramps. Pontiac Fever, also known to be associated with Legionnaire disease, is a similar infection except it only has a lasting impact up to 2-5 days. The symptoms of Pontiac Fever are familiar to those associated with Legionnaires disease, however there is no pneumonia. The patient diagnosed with Pontiac Fever will see a decrease in there symptoms faster, and will need no treatment to dispose of the illness (Legionnaires disease: History and clinical findings). On the other hand, diagnosing Legionnaires disease is a more complicated process.
Most people with Legionnaires disease will be diagnosed with having pneumonia, because the bacteria Legionella grows in the lungs. To determine if someone has pneumonia, a chest x-ray is performed, along with several lab tests used to detect any bacterial infection within the body. The most useful tests to determine Legionnaires disease are a urine sample to locate the antigens in Legionella, detecting the sputum in the bacteria, and comparing different antibiotic levels in two blood samples taken 3 to 6 weeks apart. The most common test laboratories use in determining Legionnaires disease is the urinary antigen test, which looks for the bacteria, Legionella, in the urine. If a patient has pneumonia, and the test is positive,...

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