Legionnaires' disease is a form of atypical pneumonia caused by any species of Legionella bacteria,  quite often Legionella pneumophila. Signs and symptoms include cough, shortness of breath , high fever , muscle pains , and headaches. A legionellosis is any disease caused by Legionella , including Legionnaires' disease a pneumonia , Pontiac fever a non-pneumonia illness , and Pittsburgh pneumonia, but Legionnaires' disease is the most common, so mentions of legionellosis often refer to Legionnaires' disease. The bacterium is found naturally in fresh water. No vaccine is available.
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There are at least 60 different species of Legionella , most of which are considered to be pathogenic. However, the majority of disease is caused by Legionella pneumophila , particularly serogroup 1. Legionella is transmitted via inhalation of aerosolized water containing the bacteria. Less commonly, Legionella can also be transmitted via aspiration of drinking water. Legionella is not usually transmitted from person-to-person. Learn four key steps that can lead to Legionella growing in building water systems and spreading to people. Legionella can be found in natural, freshwater environments, but generally is not present in sufficient numbers to cause disease.
These bacteria are naturally found in the environment, most especially in water. The bacteria grow best in warm water. Sometimes it can be found in cooling towers, hot tubs, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems, or even parts of some air — conditioning systems of large buildings.
This fact sheet is also available in Spanish pdf icon [1 page]. Also see Vital Signs. This fact sheet is also available in Spanish pdf icon [6. This fact sheet is also available in Spanish pdf icon [2. Disinfection of Hot Tubs that Contain Legionella pdf icon [2 pages] This 2-page fact sheet explains the steps you should take if Legionella is found in your hot tub.