Legionella infections in the Sauerland

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Already over 100 infected suffer from Legionnaires' disease

There was a real wave of legionella in Warstein, Sauerland. The authorities now count 102 cases. In the last three days alone, 18 new cases were added. Due to the dangerous nature of the disease, there is a duty to report in Germany as soon as the pathogen is detected, either directly or indirectly.

Legionella is a bacterial infectious disease caused by bacteria of the genus Legionella. In 90 to 95 percent of cases, the trigger is the so-called Legionella pneumophila bacterium. The most well known form of the disease is legionnaires' disease. Inflammation of the lungs (pneumonia), which is spread by droplet infection. Inflammation of the inner lining of the heart and the kidney pelvis occurs every now and then. The disease can sometimes be fatal. The rarer form of legionellosis, the so-called Pontiac fever, has no symptoms of pneumonia and is usually milder.

Symptoms of legionellosis
After an incubation period of two to ten days, unspecific symptoms appear that cannot be clearly assigned to the disease. In the beginning, most patients experience fever and chills - often relatively suddenly - in addition to muscle pain, predominantly in the chest area, and irritable cough. In the further course, shortness of breath, headache, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and isolated neurological deficits can be observed.

The exact cause of Legionella infections in Warstein has not yet been determined. Since two men have now died of the disease, the city advises the residents to avoid systems into which water is sprayed. Air conditioning systems are also the ideal breeding ground and possible transmission path for bacteria. People with a weakened immune system are particularly at risk and should be careful. (fr)

Photo credits: Andreas Dengs, www.photofreaks.ws / pixelio.de

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