Global & Disaster Medicine

Lithuania: An emergency has been declared in the capital city of Vilnius after Legionella bacteria were found in the water systems of several apartment buildings.

Baltic Times

x-ray of chest



Legionellosis is bacterial respiratory disease caused by Legionella that can present as either Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever. Legionnaires’ disease is a common cause of severe pneumonia requiring hospitalization, while Pontiac fever generally resolves on its own.

The following table summarizes key clinical differences between Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever.

Legionnaires’ disease
Clinical features Pneumonia, cough, fever
Pathogenesis Replication of organism
Radiographic pneumonia Yes
Incubation period 2 to 10* days after exposure
Percent of persons who become ill,
when exposed to the source of an outbreak
Less than 5%
Isolation of organism Possible
Outcome Hospitalization common
Case-fatality rate: 10%, approximately 30% for healthcare-associated cases

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