What is Legionella pneumophila?

Updated: Sep 30, 2020
  • Author: Justina Gamache, MD; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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Answer

L pneumophila seems to have 2 forms: Pontiac fever and frank Legionella pneumonia. Pontiac fever has a viruslike presentation, with malaise, fever and/or chills, myalgias, and headache. This form of Legionella pneumonia usually subsides without sequelae. However, frank Legionella pneumonia is very aggressive, with a mortality rate as high as 75% unless treatment begins rapidly. This form typically occurs in individuals who are elderly and debilitated, as well as in smokers and those with COPD, alcoholism, immunocompromise, or have experienced trauma.


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