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:
- control and maintenance of water system affecting Legionnaire’s disease from Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
- European Surveillance Scheme for travel associated cases from ECDC
- Legionella and the prevention of legionellosis from WHO, 2007
- Investigating single cases of legionnaires’ disease from CDPH, June 2002
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.
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.
- Detailed guide
- Research and analysis