Legionnaires' disease

Legionnaires’ disease is a serious pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria.

People become infected when they inhale water droplets from a contaminated water source such as cooling towers, air conditioning systems and spa pools.

Early symptoms include muscle aches, tiredness, headaches, a dry cough and fever. Sometimes you may also have diarrhoea and develop confusion. The symptoms of pneumonia are a cough, shortness of breath and chest pain.

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Last medically reviewed: December 2016. Due for review: December 2019

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.