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Legionella is an airborne infection with the bacterium sometimes living in air-conditioning systems, whirlpool spas and domestic hot water systems in large buildings.

In the UK there are about 200 cases per year, of which one third have been contracted abroad. It is responsible for 2-15% of all community-acquired pneumonias that require hospitalisation in the UK, Europe or North America (1). Men are affected up to five times more frequently than women, and it is uncommon in children. There are up to 450 cases reported each year in the UK. (2)

Mortality is 10-15% however in the elderly, untreated or immunocompromised mortality may reach 80%. (1)


1. Chahin A. Opal SM. Severe Pneumonia Caused by Legionella pneumophila: Differential Diagnosis and Therapeutic Considerations. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2017 Mar;31(1):111-121.

2. Legionnaires' disease: guidance, data and analysis. Public Health England


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