Global & Disaster Medicine

Minnesota health officials have confirmed 3 new cases of Legionnaires’ disease linked to the ongoing Hopkins outbreak, bringing the total number to 20, including one death.


x-ray of chest

Fast Facts

  • Legionella can cause Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever, collectively known as legionellosis.
  • The bacterium was named after an outbreak in 1976, when many people who went to a Philadelphia convention of the American Legion got sick with pneumonia (lung infection).
  • About 5,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease are now reported each year in the United States. [1]
  • About one out of every 10 people who get sick from Legionnaires’ disease will die. [2]
  • People can get Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever when they breathe in a mist (small droplets of water in the air) that has been contaminated with Legionella.
  • In general, Legionnaires’ disease is not spread from one person to another. However, this may be possible in rare cases. [2]
  • Legionella is found naturally in fresh water environments, like lakes and streams, but can become a health concern in human-made water systems.
  • Keeping Legionella out of water systems in buildings is key to preventing infection.


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