Legionnaires’ Disease is a lung infection that’s not dissimilar to pneumonia, caused by Legionella pneumophila bacteria. It’s said to affect men more than women, but the reasons for this are as yet unclear. If you have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ Disease then you’ll need to ensure you get prompt medical treatment, and most people make a full recovery. However, if somebody else put you at unnecessary risk and was to blame, you could always get in touch with Accident Advice Helpline to find out more about making a 100% no-win, no-fee* claim for personal injury compensation.
What are the symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease?
Although Legionnaires’ Disease is said to affect men more than women, the symptoms are pretty much the same for anybody. Symptoms usually begin 2-10 days after exposure to Legionella bacteria, and can include:
- Muscle pain
- Fever of 40°C or higher
After two to three days, other symptoms can present themselves, including:
- A cough, which can sometimes bring up blood and mucus
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Confusion or mental changes
- Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea
Although Legionnaires’ Disease usually affects the lungs, if left untreated it can spread to cause infections in wounds and other body parts such as the heart. Complications can include septic shock, acute kidney failure or respiratory failure.
Where is Legionella bacteria found?
The bacteria responsible is found in harmless concentrations in streams, ponds, lakes and other natural bodies of water. In warm water systems, it can rapidly multiply and cause problems – it’s common in hot water tanks, spa pools, swimming pools and water coolers. The infection is contracted by inhaling droplets of water containing the bacteria.
Who’s most at risk?
Although Legionnaires’ Disease tends to affect men more than women, there are some other factors which put you more at risk of developing the condition. If you’re over 50 or a heavy drinker or smoker, you could be at increased risk. If you have any of the following medical conditions, your risk is raised:
- Kidney disease
- Heart condition
- Weakened immune system
- Pre-existing lung condition
- Liver condition
- Cancer, especially lung cancer and leukaemia
For some reason, men are three times more likely than women to contract Legionnaires’ Disease, and the conditions affects men far more often than it does women.
Does Legionnaires’ Disease affect men more?
We don’t actually know why Legionnaires’ Disease affects men more than it does women – more research needs to be carried out before we can have a conclusive answer to this question. But potential reasons could be:
- Increased exposure risk
- Heightened presence of predisposing medical conditions
- Heightened susceptibility (although this has not been proven)
Some have suggested that the reason Legionnaires’ Disease appears to affect men more than women is simply due to more men having been tested and diagnosed than women, and it’s true that this could be the case.
Treatment for Legionnaires’ Disease
Although it affects men more than women, anybody who is suffering from the symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease should seek immediate medical advice and treatment, as the faster you receive treatment, the better your prognosis will be. Treatment is in the form of a course of antibiotics, and most people make a fairly quick, full recovery. If you have needed to take time off work for treatment and to recover, you may be able to make a personal injury claim with Accident Advice Helpline. Our lawyers have over 16 years’ experience helping members of the public claim compensation for Legionnaires’ Disease.
Who’s at fault?
Many people avoid making a personal injury claim as they’re unsure who is at fault for them contracting Legionnaires’. If you think you have contracted the disease at work, your employer could be at fault – for example if you work at a pool or leisure centre, your employer may not have taken steps to ensure that the water system is free from contamination. If you live in a rented flat and contract Legionnaires’ Disease, it may be that your landlord has been negligent in maintaining the hot water system to a safe standard, and they could be held liable and ordered to pay you personal injury compensation. Although the disease affects men more frequently than women, Accident Advice Helpline has helped hundreds of men and women to claim compensation – and even if you’re unsure who’s at fault for your accident, we can help you.
Preventing Legionnaires’ Disease
There are some things that can be done to prevent a Legionnaires’ outbreak. If you own or operate a system which is likely to be contaminated with bacteria, the law says that you must take preventative steps to monitor bacteria levels and treat any increase in bacteria levels. If you fail to do so and somebody contracts Legionnaires’ Disease as a result of your negligence, you could be held liable and ordered to pay them personal injury compensation.
What to do if you’ve been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ Disease?
If you have been diagnosed with the disease and you think that somebody else was at fault, help is at hand. Accident Advice Helpline has over 16 years’ industry experience handling personal injury claims, and we have helped thousands of people to claim the compensation they deserve for illness caused by Legionella bacteria. Whether you have been diagnosed after exposure at work, at your rental property or even in a public place such as a spa or leisure centre, you can get in touch with us to find out more about making a personal injury claim. Our advisors offer confidential, no-obligation advice, and we’re here to help you get the compensation you’re entitled to.
You can call us at any time on 0800 689 0500 (or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile) to find out if you have a viable claim, or take the 30-second test on our website right now for an idea of what you could receive if your claim is successful. Our lawyers don’t charge any upfront fees; instead, we work on a 100% no-win, no-fee* basis, which means that you don’t need to worry about how you will afford expensive legal fees in order to make a claim.
Date Published: February 13, 2014
Author: David Brown