Health protection – collection

Legionnaires' disease: guidance, data and analysis

The symptoms, diagnosis, management, surveillance and epidemiology of Legionnaires' disease.

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacterium. People become infected when they inhale aerosols from a contaminated source.

Early symptoms include muscle aches, tiredness, headaches, dry cough and fever. Sometimes diarrhoea occurs and confusion may develop. Legionnaires’ disease can cause long term health problems.

Diagnosis and management

Further guidance is available on:

The bacteriology reference department (BRD) offers a range of reference, confirmatory and referred tests for legionella.

Food, water and environmental laboratories carry out a range of specialist microbiology tests on food, water and environmental samples, and provide support required in the investigation of water-borne outbreaks such as Legionnaires’ disease.

  1. Legionella: detection in healthcare premises

    • Guidance
  2. Respiratory and systemic bacteria section: request form

    • Form
  3. Legionnaires' disease: controlling the risk of infection from spa pools

    • Guidance
  4. Legionella species: sampling of households

    • Guidance

Data submission

Legionnaires’ disease is a notifiable disease in England and Wales. Health professionals must inform local health protection teams of suspected cases. PHE collects data on notifiable diseases. This data helps healthcare professionals track identify clusters and prevent outbreaks whilst monitoring trends in disease occurrence over time.

The European Surveillance Scheme (managed by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)) monitors trends and detects clusters and outbreaks of travel associated Legionnaires’ disease across Europe. It contributes to the evaluation and monitoring of control and prevention programmes in collaboration with the Member States. Further information about the European Legionnaires’ Disease Surveillance Network (ELDSNet) is available on the ECDC website.

  1. Legionnaires' disease: national surveillance scheme

    • Guidance
  2. Legionnaires' disease: case definitions

    • Detailed guide