The disease is caused by the legionella bacteria and can come in different forms. The mild form of the infection is legionella flu. The severe form, Legionnaires' disease, resembles severe pneumonia.
Legionella bacteria are found in soil and in (piped) water, but in such small numbers that the bacteria are not harmful. The danger of the bacteria is that they can multiply explosively between a temperature of 25 and 55ºC. Especially if the water stands still at this temperature, the bacteria can grow rapidly. This can be prevented by strong water flow. If water is in the air in mist form, the bacteria can be inhaled. This can cause infection; the disease is not contagious.
The time between infection with the bacteria and the first symptoms of illness is 2 to 18 days. Symptoms include: rapidly developing headache, muscle aches, feeling sick, high fever, coughing, shortness of breath, great fatigue and confusion. Legionnaires' disease is well treatable if the doctor or specialist prescribes appropriate antibiotics right away. The sooner this happens, the better. However, it can take a long time before the patient is fully recovered. Poor or late treatment can cause the patient's death.
One cannot be vaccinated against legionella. Vaccinatiepunt always alerts its customers to be extra vigilant when travelling near places where legionella may be present.