Caused by infection of the lungs by Legionella bacteria, Legionnaires disease is contracted by breathing in tiny droplets of water contaminated with this bacterium. To begin with, symptoms of this disease may be flu-like and include:
- Muscle pain
- Chills and fever
- Mild headaches
- Confusion and other changes in the infected individual’s mental state
As the bacteria continues to infect the sufferer’s lungs, pneumonia-like symptoms may also be experienced as result of Legionnaires disease. Such symptoms may consist of:
- Persistent coughing, which is typically dry to begin with, but may develop into coughing
up phlegm or, although this is comparatively rare, blood
- Chest pains
- Shortness of breath
Severe Legionnaires disease infections may cause septic shock and stop organs, such as the kidneys or lungs, from working properly.
According to NHS information, approximately 10 per cent of people who are otherwise healthy die from Legionnaires disease due to these complications. People with pre-existing health conditions are also at a heightened risk of infections becoming life-threatening. Seeking medical assistance as soon as you suspect a Legionnaires disease infection is
Treating Legionnaires disease
This disease is usually treated with courses of antibiotics, like, for instance, clarithromycin or erythromycin, which are usually administered in either capsule or tablet form. They may also be administered via continuous intravenous drips.
How infection occurs
Usually found in low and harmless numbers in rivers, lakes or ponds, Legionella bacteria can rapidly multiply if allowed to enter artificial water systems like, for instance, spas, sprinkler or air conditioning systems, showers or pools. Growth and reproduction of bacteria is particularly enhanced when:
- Water temperatures range between 20 and 45 degrees Celsius (68 to 113 degrees
- There are impurities the bacteria can consume as food, like algae, lime-scale or rust, in the water
- Larger premises like hotels, office blocks, hospitals or museums are particularly vulnerable to contamination by Legionella due to their more complex, larger water supply systems within which Legionella bacteria can spread quickly.
Owners of such premises have a duty of care to prevent infections as much as they are supposed to prevent slips, trips and falls.
If they fail to monitor and maintain their water systems properly and you were subsequently infected with Legionella bacteria, you could qualify to make a public liability claim, just like you would be able to make a personal injury claim following a slip, trip or fall.
Get the compensation due to you by calling us, Accident Advice Helpline, on 0333 500 0993 from your mobile, or 0800 689 0500 from a landline, and seeking the assistance of one of our in-house solicitors today.
Date Published: April 29, 2016
Author: Accident Advice