Case of Legionnaires' disease investigated in St. Johns County

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health in St. John's County currently is investigating a case of Legionnaires' disease.

Health officials said the affected person was attending a conference in the St. Augustine area and is now receiving medical care. Currently, there is no evidence the case was locally-acquired, officials said.

"While Legionnaires' disease can be serious, it is important to remember that most people exposed to the bacteria do not become ill and Legionnaires' disease is not spread from person to person," said Dawn Allicock, director and health officer of the Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County.

Legionnaires' disease is a type of pneumonia, also known as lung infection, caused by Legionella bacteria.

The Legionella bacteria are found naturally in the environment, usually in warm water. People get Legionnaires' disease when they breathe in a mist or vapor (small droplets of water in the air) that has been contaminated with Legionella bacteria.

Symptoms of the disease usually begin two to 14 days after exposure to the bacteria. They include high fever, chills, cough, muscle aches and headaches.

Legionnaires' disease can be very serious, yet most cases can be treated successfully with antibiotics, and healthy people usually recover from infection.

For more information on Legionnaires' disease, visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's resource page.