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Legionellosis – Diagnosis and Treatment

Legionellosis

is also known as Legionnaires’ disease. This is primarily caused by the bacterial agent, Legionella. This bacterial causative agent was named after people attending a American Legion convention in Philadelphia where afflicted with this disease in 1976.

Legionellosis

is a form of pneumonia, which affects the lungs. Nearly 8,000 to 18,000 people are afflicted with this infection and hospitalized every year in the U.S. Although, many cases are not reported or diagnosed. Hence, the number of cases can be higher than the estimated number. Most cases are reported in the summer and early fall. Read on to know more about the

diagnosis and treatment of legionellosis

.

Diagnosis of Legionellosis

Patients afflicted with this disease have pneumonia, which is lung infection, as the Legionella bacteria survives in the lungs. The lung infection is confirmed by either clinical diagnosis or chest x-rays. There are different laboratory tests which can detect the infective bacteria in the patient’s body. One such common diagnostic laboratory test is the urinary antigen test.

The urinary antigen test can detect the causative agent in the patient’s urine sample or specimen. If the test is positive and the patient is afflicted with pneumonia, then it is confirmed that the patient has legionellosis. Another way of confirming the disease is by culturing the bacteria isolated from respiratory secretions or lung biopsy sample. The diagnosis can be done effectively.

Treatment of Legionellosis

The current treatment mode is the respiratory tract macrolides (roxithromycin, clarithromycin and azithromycin) and quinolones (gemifloxacin, moxifloxacin and levofloxacin). Most frequently, the antibiotics azithromycin and levofloxacin are used to treat legionellosis. For all age groups, macrolides are prescribed. For children above 12, tetracyclines are prescribed whereas quinolones are prescribed for above 18 adults.

Erythromycin and tetracyclines lead to better outcomes when compared with other antibiotics in the American Legion outbreak. Rifampicin can be effective when used combined with macrolide or quinolone.

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