Todo sobre la Legionella | Qué es, sus efectos, cómo tratarlo y más - English

Legionella is a bacterium found in natural and artificial aquatic environments. It infects cooling towers, ornamental fountains, sanitary water, air conditioning ducts, swimming pools and water tanks. This disease affects the airways becoming fatal in certain cases. If you want to know what it is, effects and treatments, check this page.

Legionella description

que es la legionella

It is a disease caused by the Legionella pneumophila bacteria, resistant and capable of surviving in various conditions. It can cause 2 different clinical pathologies. Firstly, severe pulmonary infection or legionalosis, characterized by pneumonia with high fevers. Second, it causes Pontiac fever, which is an intense febrile syndrome.

Legionella pneumophila is a very agile type of Gram-negative, aerobic bacteria. It measures 0.3-0.5 microns by 2-20 microns, with an elongated bacillus shape with several flagella. Similarly, it grows at a temperature of 35 and 39ºC and can be destroyed at 70ºC.

Additionally, the disease is spread via the respiratory system and inhaling small drops of contaminated water. Once it reaches the lungs, a mild cough develops that can lead to the development of fatal pneumonia. Death occurs progressively due to respiratory failure.

Origin of legionella

This infectious disease originated in 1976 at a convention of the American Legion in Philadelphia. Some 4,000 people gathered there, of whom 221 developed symptoms of severe pneumonia. The result was the death of 34 people.

On the other hand, the first affected by Pontiac fever were discovered in 1968, in Michigan. After several investigations, specialists discovered that this bacterium causes both diseases. However, Legionella pneumonia has a higher mortality rate than Pontiac fever.

Consequences of Legionella

consecuencias de la legionella

Legionnaires' disease has an incubation period of between 2 and 10 days. The first symptoms are usually fever, loss of appetite, headache, lethargy, diarrhea, confusion and muscle pain.

Furthermore, this disease has varying degrees of severity, including high fevers and life-threatening pneumonia. If not treated in time, it can be aggravated in the first week with respiratory failure and acute renal shock. On the other hand, in extreme cases it results in sudden death in 15% of patients.

Is Legionella Cured?

Detecting it early and treating it quickly plays a fundamental role in its cure and prevention. Antibiotic treatment should be started as soon as possible to avoid severe respiratory crisis and to anticipate that the patient enters the terminal phase. Also, it is vital to keep the water systems in the house in good condition and under no circumstances have water ponds in the vicinity.

How to treat Legionella?

como tratar la legionella

This respiratory condition is detected through blood tests, physical examination, and a urine sample to detect the antigen. A weak immune system prevents rapid recovery of the patient. Therefore, in order to treat infection correctly, the following must be applied:


Para tratar la legionelosis se usa 2 tipos de antibióticos, quinolonas y macrólidos, a razón de 7 a 14 días, acorde al estado del paciente. Entre las quinolonas están la levofloxacina, ciprofloxacina y moxifloxacina, eficaces pues penetran a nivel pulmonar las células donde está alojada la bacteria. Además, la eritromicina minimiza las reacciones adversas de la enfermedad.

Fluid therapy

Drinking plenty of liquids prevents dehydration of the patient due to high fevers. The objective of the treatment is to maintain the patient's good state and physical mood, to avoid decompensation.

Herbal teas

It is well known that herbal teas are an effective means of alleviating the effects of respiratory diseases such as legionellosis. For example, olive leaf tea is effective against bacterial infections. Chamomile tea reduces high fevers and strengthens the immune system. In addition, anise tea relieves respiratory crisis, and helps in the rapid recovery from the disease.

Precautionary measures

Poorly designed facilities without proper water maintenance favor the proliferation of Legionella pneumophila. For this reason, it is essential to maintain water with high levels of sanitation.

Other steps you can take are:


  • Eliminate water stagnations.
  • Use an environmental maintenance program to reduce dirt.
  • Constantly disinfect the areas to prevent the spread of the bacteria.


  • Thoroughly clean showers, taps and hot tubs.
  • It prefers showers that dispense thick drops, since in small drops the bacteria is transmitted.
  • Disinfect water diffusers and taps once a year with 10 drops of bleach or bleach.
  • Perform regular maintenance on air conditioners to prevent leaks.

Legionella | Everything you need to know about Legionella

Legionella pneumophila is a bacterium that affects humans and causes an infectious and respiratory disease. On this website you find all the necessary information about this disease, causes, symptoms, prevention and treatments.