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- Legionella can cause Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever, collectively known as legionellosis.
- The bacterium was named after an outbreak in 1976, when many people who went to a Philadelphia convention of the American Legion got sick with pneumonia (lung infection).
- About 5,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease are now reported each year in the United States. 
- About one out of every 10 people who get sick from Legionnaires’ disease will die. 
- People can get Legionnaires' disease or Pontiac fever when they breathe in a mist (small droplets of water in the air) that has been contaminated with Legionella.
- In general, Legionnaires’ disease is not spread from one person to another. However, this may be possible in rare cases. 
- Legionella is found naturally in fresh water environments, like lakes and streams, but can become a health concern in human-made water systems.
- Keeping Legionella out of water systems in buildings is key to preventing infection.
- Dooling KL, Toews KA, Hicks LA, et al. Active Bacterial Core Surveillance for Legionellosis–United States, 2011–2013. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2015;64(42):1190–3.
- Correia AM, GonCalves J, Gomes, JP, et al. Probable Person-to-Person Transmission of Legionnaires' Disease. N Engl J Med. 2016;374:497–8.
- Page last reviewed: May 31, 2016
- Page last updated: May 31, 2016
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