Legionnaires’ Disease is a type of pneumonia that poses little threat to healthy individuals, but becomes deadly to anyone with a compromised immune system. This is most prominent in anyone hospitalized or over 60.
According to a 2015 CDC report, of all the cases known to have definitely occurred in healthcare facilities, 80 percent of the incidents of infection occurred in long-term care facilities, 18 percent in hospitals, and 2 percent in both. Additionally, 88 percent of those cases occurred in people over the age of 60.
John Letson, the Vice President of Plant Operations at the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center believes that one of the major contributing factors behind outbreaks is the misdiagnosis of the disease. Most incidences of Legionnaires’ Disease are misdiagnosed as normal pneumonia. According to the CDC, a patient suffering from pneumonia with a temperature over 102°F or 39°C, diarrhea, nausea, or confusion may be suffering from Legionnaires’ Disease instead of normal pneumonia.
This disease can be very deadly. While the mortality rate is only 10 percent, that number goes up to 25 percent in long-term care facilities, and has even been reported to have reach as high at 46 percent in the past.