Symptoms and treatment
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of Legionnaires' disease are similar to the symptoms of the flu:
- high temperature, feverishness and chills;
- muscle pains;
- headache; and leading on to
- pneumonia, very occasionally
- diarrhoea and signs of mental confusion
Legionnaires’ disease is not known to spread from person to person.
How is it treated?
The illness is treated with an antibiotic called erythromycin or a similar antibiotic.
What to do
- If you develop the above symptoms and you are worried that it might be Legionnaires' disease, see your general practitioner.
- It is not always easy to diagnose because it is similar to the flu. A urine or blood test will be helpful in deciding whether an illness is Legionnaires' disease or not. When doctors are aware that the illness is present in the local community, they have a much better chance of diagnosing it earlier.
- If you suspect that your illness is as a consequence of your work then you should report this to your manager, as well as your health and safety representative and occupational health department, if you have one. There is a legal requirement for employers to report cases of Legionnaires' disease that may be acquired at their premises to the Health and Safety Executive.
- Legionnaires' disease: a brief guide for duty holder
- The control of legionella bacteria in water systems