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Legionnaires disease: everything you need to know!

The use of air conditioning units is necessary now but it also carries some risks.

Characteristically, last year two cases of celebrities brought the disease of Legionnaires or the disease of air conditioning to the news.

Why does it occur?

The disease is caused by the bacterium Legionella.

This bacterium is transmitted mainly aerogenously through the finest droplets, aerosols, formed by air conditioning units, but also in the shower or hand wash.

Greece, as a Mediterranean country, theoretically meets all the conditions for the appearance of Legionella infections (warm climate, operation of air conditioning units, high temperatures for long periods of time, etc.).

Critical is the long period of time during which, especially the hotel units, remain closed or under-operated, with the result that the water of the distribution network remains "stagnant" (a condition which favors the development of Legionella).

The onset of the disease usually occurs two to ten days after exposure to Legionella. The symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Fever 40 °C or higher

From the second or third day it also manifests:

  • Cough (with or without mucus and blood)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea, tendency to vomit, diarrhea
  • Confusion

Depending on the extent of pneumonia and the coexistence of other diseases, there may be shortness of breath or respiratory failure.

The high-risk group includes:

All people over the age of 50, smokers, those being treated with corticosteroids, those suffering from chronic lung disease, diabetes, neoplastic disease, and kidney failure, those who have undergone a transplant, and people with a weakened and vulnerable immune system.

When to see a doctor?

Early diagnosis and treatment of the disease, especially for vulnerable groups of the population, accelerate recovery and prevents serious complications such as respiratory failure, septic shock, and acute renal failure.

At Diagnostiki Athinon, we perform all the necessary tests for the diagnosis of Legionnaires disease, immediately and reliably:

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