Legionella: what it is, symptoms, how it is transmitted and treatment

Legionella: what it is, symptoms, how it is transmitted and treatment

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There legionella, when it claims victims, rises to the headlines, makes the title, as is happening these days in Bresso, in the Milan, as has happened at other times in this and other areas. Then we forget that it exists, we forget to prevent it, we forget the symptoms to recognize it and, let alone, of what nature it is. It is a causing bacterium an infection that is best known, regardless of the victims near or far it makes.

Legionella: what it is

The pathology is called legionellosis, not Legionella, and it is a lung infection caused by the bacterium we are talking about, a microorganism that is defined as aerobic because it needs air to live. The bacterium that causes legionellosis does well exist 71 serotypes but not all are on the same level as regards the danger to humans.

There Legionella pneumophilia is the most dangerous species, it is able to spread through the hydraulic circuits connected to centralized air conditioning systems and is therefore very insidious if we think about it. Let's imagine that it also infiltrates through showers, steam irons, irrigation systems, tanks, on all occasions when there is water and there are pipes or channels. This terrible Legionella is the cause of pneumonia leading to death.

Legionella: symptoms

It is not always easy to recognize the disease, the infection we are talking about because it has gods symptoms which are in common with many other pathological forms that are less alarming. It is therefore better, when in doubt, to go to the doctor and rather fail to be told that it is only one seasonal illness. The characteristic signs of legionellosis are: pneumonia, fever, cold, cough, headache, muscle aches, asthenia, loss of appetite. In some people it can also have an attack of diarrhea and kidney problems.

Legionella: how it is transmitted

We can assist with serenity a person who has the legionellosis because this disease is not transmitted from person to person. The infection it can only occur through the inhalation of contaminated water particles in the gaseous state. Translated into practice, we mean those occasions when water is sprayed, such as in the shower or in the humidification systems.

Usually when there are victims of Legionellosis they go to analyze the systems of their apartments to understand where it came from and avoid any other cases of infection.

Not only in homes you can contract the legionellosis but also in natural aquatic environments, in areas with spring or thermal waters, near rivers, lakes, muds. In homes, on the other hand, the systems of irrigation for plants, water systems, tanks, pipes. Even near fountains and swimming pools there may be the danger of legionella.

In addition to contagion situations, some factors must also be considered that can make contagion more likely. They are called risk factors and in this case we can define three main ones. Gender, male, advanced age and then the consumption of alcohol and cigarette smoke. Chronic diseases of the lungs that they cause can worsen the situation immunosuppression. Even the use of drugs that cause immunosuppression does not help an individual defend himself from the bacterium and cortisone it is one of these, a drug that is also quite common, especially among the elderly but not only.

Legionella: how to cure it

There antibiotic treatment it is the only relatively effective measure recommended in the case of a diagnosis of legionella pneumonia. For the rest we talk a lot about prevention, or not to risk taking it, especially if you belong to one of the risk categories that we have just seen.

To avoid contagion, or at least to make it less likely, it is good to always keep the plumbing systems clean and the same goes for taps and air conditioning. Before using the water we can let it flow a little, without wasting it too much, instead it is useful and harmless to open the windows when we take a shower. To understand if we have contracted the infection, beyond the appearance of the symptoms, there is only one unquestionable way which is the test. A test made especially for this pathology to be done in the hospital.

It is also difficult to distinguish the legionellosis other pneumonia and it may be necessary to do chest x-rays and a kidney function test, urine tests and other tests that may be recommended by doctors to be sure of the bacterium that caused everything.

Legionella: the latest cases in Bresso, province of Milan

In the second half of July in Bresso the Legionella claimed three victims and other cases of contagion. The deceased people were already in rather poor health and had one old age. Following the confirmed deaths and infections, many analyzes were carried out to understand how the infection was contracted, to then stop it and avoid other victims. There is a protocol of investigations to follow, the newspapers immediately shouted the Legionella alarm, the alarm is not, properly speaking, but certainly the bacterium must be identified and blocked.

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