Questions and answers

What are Legionella bacteria?

Legionella bacteria are found naturally in the environment, and certain conditions, such as warm or hot environments, promote the growth of the bacteria. These conditions may be found, for example, in cooling towers, hot water tanks and water storage systems.

How do people become infected?

People become infected by inhaling fine airborne particles containing Legionella bacteria. Legionnaires' disease is not spread through contact with infected individuals and is rarely fatal. The severity of the disease varies from a mild fever to a form of pneumonia. The incubation period for the disease is 2 to 14 days.

What are the symptoms of exposure to Legionella?

Early symptoms include fever, chills and a dry cough. Elderly people, pregnant women or those with compromised immune systems are at greater risk of contracting the disease. Please see the Public Health Agency of Canada website for more information about Legionella.

Is Legionella contagious?

People become infected by inhaling fine airborne particles containing Legionella bacteria. Legionnaires' disease is not spread through contact with infected individuals. Exposure would occur only if water droplets containing Legionella bacteria were released into the Heating, Ventilation, and Air conditioning system from the affected cooling tower.

What should I do if I think I may have been exposed or if I have some symptoms?

Early symptoms include fever, chills and a dry cough. If you think you may have some symptoms of Legionella exposure, you should consult a physician.

Where can I get more information?

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