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Legionnaire's disease

  • Alternative Names

    Legionella pneumonia; Pontiac fever


    Symptoms tend to get worse during the first 4 - 6 days. They typically improve in another 4 - 5 days.

    Symptoms may include:

    • Chest pain
    • Coughing up blood
    • Fever
    • Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain
    • General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling (malaise)
    • Headache
    • Joint pain
    • Lack of coordination (ataxia)
    • Loss of energy
    • Muscle aches and stiffness
    • Nonproductive cough
    • Shaking chills
    • Shortness of breath

    Signs and tests

    The health care provider will perform a physical exam, and may hear abnormal sounds called crackles when listening to the chest with a stethoscope.

    Tests that may be done include:

    • Arterial blood gases
    • Chest x-ray
    • Complete blood count (CBC), including white blood cell count
    • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
    • Liver function tests
    • Sputum or bronchoscopic culture for the Legionella bacteria
    • Sputum or bronchoscopic indirect fluorescent antibody test for the Legionella bacteria
    • Urine tests to check for Legionella pneumophila bacteria