Legionnaires disease was first diagnosed in 1976, when an outbreak occurred during and American Legion convention in Philadelphia Pa. In the days following the convention large numbers of those who had attended became ill. Within a week over 130 persons from the convention had been admitted to a hospital, and 29 were dead. Since 1976 there have been periodic outbreaks in the US, Europe, and Australia.
The bacteria that causes Legionnaires disease can be found in rivers and lakes,but infection is most commonly spread by man-made water systems like spa pools, showers and air conditioning systems. One catches the disease by inhaling water droplets and vapors.
Initial symptoms of legionnaires disease are flue-like, including fever, coughing, and chills. More serious symptoms are abnormal heart rate as well as impaired kidney and liver functions,and pneumonia.It is not contagious.