Legionnaires Disease.
August 10, 2002 2:21 AM   Subscribe

Legionnaires Disease. Today I have discovered that two people I am related to in the second degree have been stricken with pneumonia. One as you read this is in ICU and near death. One traveled last week to San Francisco. The other to southern Oregon. The two cases are completely unrelated, other than that I know of each case seperately. What do we know of Legionnaires?
posted by crasspastor (14 comments total)
It's still too early. But, the oddity of this speaks for itself. Neither case, as far as I know has been diagnosed as Legionnaires. I'm just wondrin': If I've come across two strange cases of serious pneumonia today, I only wonder if anybody else has either?

I hope I'm only experiencing a statistical fluke here. . .
posted by crasspastor at 2:29 AM on August 10, 2002

We've had an outbreak here in the UK which has killed two people so far Seems it's caused mostly by dodgy air con units.
posted by nixon at 2:45 AM on August 10, 2002

Don't get whipped into hysteria about air-con in buildings. The problem lies in the warm air from air-cons and the cooling water not being rid of properly on top of buildings. I am led to believe that the spores that are infecting people are doing so outside the buildings.
posted by Frasermoo at 3:03 AM on August 10, 2002

Legionnaires Disease is where u dress up with swords and invade Gaul.
posted by monkeyJuice at 3:33 AM on August 10, 2002

I had Leginnaires back in '91. I'd been to a convention in Chicago, and it was brutally hot and humid outside. I noticed in the hotel, the hallways were just as humid, as if the a/c wasn't working, but the rooms were nice and cool. I don't know what was wrong with the a/c, but I felt worn out and tired the last day of the convention, and by the next night I was coughing so hard I tore a muscle. Went to hospital, had tests, came back positive for Atypical Legionnaires Type 2 or some such. (I've had pneumonia before, but this was much worse.) Luckily, a week in the hospital and I was much better, able to go home.

I found out after the fact that two other conventioneers had also gotten quite ill - one with what her doctor diagnosed as pneumonia, and another with similar symptoms, but not as severe (a shot of penicillin seemed to clear it up).

Best of luck to your friends, Crasspastor, hope all turns out well for them.
posted by Oriole Adams at 3:44 AM on August 10, 2002

I had pneumonia though I don't like to talk about it. My experience was so great (week off school, icecream) that I fear people won't take it seriously.
posted by holloway at 5:30 AM on August 10, 2002

I had pneumonia about ten years ago, because I wasn't getting enough sleep, and then going outside in the cold air early in the morning with a wet head of hair. Pneumonia, and pneumonia-like symptoms, result from all sorts of conditions. Sounds like a perfectly believable coincidence to me.
posted by bingo at 6:03 AM on August 10, 2002

Frasermoo's got it: it's not the a/c itself, it's pools of water collecting in the vents, giving the spores a home to grow. I think that would restrict it to building-size a/c units.
posted by yerfatma at 8:00 AM on August 10, 2002

Legionella infects people all the time. Major outbreaks are relatively rare. The treatment is fairly conventional antibiotics. Some people, as with all pneumonias, get REALLY sick and even die. We saw Legionella pneumonia every winter outside Detroit where I did my residency. We did have one large outbreak of about 30 people infected at a farmers market by their air handling system.
posted by shagoth at 8:39 AM on August 10, 2002

Last year I had a bad case of pneumonia and blood poisoning. I was in the ICU for three day hooked up to four different IVs of drugs. I obviously pulled through, but they told me afterward that an older person, or some sick other problems would have died.

The onset was very fast, Tuesday I visited a doctor and he told me bed rest, and by Friday I was in the hospital. The speed of the infection was of concern to them. I was grilled by the doctors several times and asked many questions about where I had been, who I had been around, even if I had visited a farm. This was before the anthrax attacks, but they were concerned about it even then.

After I recovered, they sent a disease specialist from USC to talk to me and try to figure things out. He spent several hours with me talking. In the end, they decided that I had worn myself down by working too hard and not sleeping much and the infection stomped on my immune system easily.

AFAIK, legionaire's can only be contracted from water that has collected in air conditioning type units and prolonged exposure, hours, not seconds.

What your relative's have is probably pneumonia, not legionaire's. After I recovered I learned that many people do not take a lung infection serious enough. Jim Henson died because he didn't get help for pneumonia. When I hear people talking about not using anti-biotics to fight things like this to 'to fight things off naturally', I consider them fools. If you get a lung infection, get to a doctor immediately. It only takes a couple days to put you in the hospital.
posted by Argyle at 11:08 AM on August 10, 2002

"If you get a lung infection, get to a doctor immediately. It only takes a couple days to put you in the hospital."

I can't second that heartily enough. I spent three days in March in the hospital with an abscess on my lung that probably wouldn't have developed if I'd bothered to make a routine doctor's appointment to have my lungs checked out. I'd had a nasty cough for at least a month but figured it would go away, like it always did before. Then I started coughing up blood, and by that time it was too late for outpatient treatment.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:12 PM on August 10, 2002

Information about Legionellosis, which includes Pontiac Fever and Legionaire's Disease.
posted by Alwin at 1:35 PM on August 10, 2002

my first post...

I have a lot of interest in communicable diseases. There's a great book by Laurie Garrett, The Coming Plague that has a whole chapter on the Legionaire's Disease. Very good book. I would amazon-link it but not sure if that's allowed here.

Legionaire's is still a disease without a lot of information.
posted by azileretsis at 10:25 PM on August 10, 2002

welcome. post that link if relevant to the discussion.

watch out for amazon posts to the front page though....
posted by Frasermoo at 12:55 AM on August 12, 2002

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