Legionella is the name given to the group of bacteria which give rise to various diseases, including Legionnaires' disease – a potentially deadly pneumonia sort of infection of the lower respiratory tract. Legionellosis is the term given to the group of diseases caused by the bacteria and include other less serious diseases, for example, Pontiac Fever and Lochgoilhead fever.
Legionella is common in many environments such as lakes and ponds with at least 50 species and 70 serogroups identified. The optimum growth temperature range for this bacteria is 20-45 degrees Celsius. It thrives in areas where there are high concentrations of rust, algae, and organic particles; for these supply the bacteria with a source of iron as well a nitrogen. These are necessary for providing nutrients for growth, as well as protection from harsh chemicals. The organism has been found to possess the ability to survive in tap water at room temperature for over a year.
Legionnaires' disease, are caused by Legionella pneumophila,Legionnaires' illness is a serious lung infection caused by legionella. Initial symptoms include a high fever, muscle pain and chills. Once bacteria infect your lungs, you may also develop a persistent cough, chest pains and breathing difficulties.
If you have serious problems like chest pains and breathing difficulties, seek urgent medical attention. As the condition has similar symptoms to other illnesses, recent places you have visited will help in making a diagnosis. If it is suspected you have an infection, a urine test can check for Legionnaires' disease.
There is no evidence that the disease is contagious via person to person but there have been reported cases of Legionnaires' disease being contracted through drinking contaminated water by a process called aspiration.