Legionnaires’ Disease Treatment, Drugs, Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

Legionnaires’ disease is an infection caused by a bacterium that usually thrives in water or mist from air-conditioning ducts. The illness takes two forms that include the Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever. Legionnaires’ disease is the most common and fatal usually characterized by cough, fever and chills causing respiratory failure or pneumonia.

Legionnaires disease Drugs

  • Levofloxacin
  • Zithromax
  • Biaxin
  • Erythromycin
  • Doxycycline

Legionnaires disease Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease will vary from one patient to the other mostly depending on age, health condition and response to medication. Since Legionnaires’ disease symptoms may be similar with those of other illnesses, it is recommended you seek medical help before getting certain about the illness. For Legionnaires’ disease, common symptoms include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Fever, chills and cough
  • Severe pneumonia
  • Difficulty breathing

Legionnaires’ disease symptoms may vary from those of Pontiac fever, whose common signs and symptoms include:

  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pains and weakness
  • Pneumonia
  • Fever, chills and coughs
  • Loss of appetite
  • Trouble breathing

Legionnaires disease Causes

Legionellosis is an infection that takes two distinct forms that include Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever. Both infections are caused by a bacterium known as:

  • Legionella Pneumophilia

The bacteria are found naturally and mostly thrive in water or moist places. It grows best in warm water and is commonly found in cooling towers, parts of air-conditioning systems, hot tubs, large plumbing systems and hot water tanks. Despite being a fatal disease that can cause the death of up to 30% of the infected people, healthy patients often recover from it. However, most cases are treated successfully using antibiotics and other home therapies.

Legionnaires disease Diagnosis

To treat Legionnaires’ disease, you need to be certain about its infection – therefore, you need a proper Legionnaires’ disease diagnosis. A doctor may not prescribe medication based on signs and symptoms only, since they may be similar with those of other illnesses. A laboratory test is necessary to determine if there is an increase in the number of white blood cells used in fighting harmful things in the body. Mild abnormalities in the liver function may also suggest Legionnaires’ disease infection. The doctor may also carry out a blood or/and urine test to check the presence of Legionnaires’ bacteria. A chest X-ray may show abnormal densities where parts of the lungs in the X-ray film appear to be white.

Legionnaires disease Treatment

There are various methods of treatment for Legionnaires’ disease, but prevention is always better than cure. In most cases, doctors prescribe antibiotics that tend to be effective in treating legionellosis. Fluoroquinolones, macrolides and tetracyclines are the most commonly used antibiotics. Glycylcyclines are a new form of antibiotics introduced in the market and have shown to be effective as well. The choice of the type of antibiotic to use depends on the severity of the condition, patient’s clinical taste and tolerance to the medication. In the case of severe Legionnaires’ disease infection, doctors recommend the use of rifampin which is an addition drug to a previously used single tablet.