You are back from a trip and anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks after the trip you get a headache, muscle pain, chills, and a temperature that can be 104 degrees or higher.  The second or third day a cough with blood, some shortness of breath, chest pain, loss of appetite, confusion, and even nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

You have the symptoms of Legionnaire’s disease, also known as traveler’s pneumonia. Legionnaire’s is caused by a bacteria that is commonly found in the water systems of large resorts, cruise ships, some fancy faucets, decorative fountains – and has been found in the air conditioning towers, and even hot tubs.

First described in 1976 after people attended an American Legion convention in Philadelphia, it has since been found everywhere from the hot tub at the Playboy Mansion, rooms at the Aria Resort in Las Vegas, two resorts in Cozumel, ice machines in several hotels, and in spas found on cruise ships.

Exposure does not mean you will come down with the disease – but knowledge of the symptoms can mean quickly getting medical help and decreasing symptoms. People have died from Legionnaire’s disease — and those at high risk include smokers, people who have HIV/AIDS, people who have had transplants, and people who take high dose steroids, or other immune suppressive agents. Smokers have a high incidence of developing Traveler’s pneumonia

The single most important thing for a traveler to know is that if you contract any of the symptoms listed above to see your physician, or a physician who specializes in infectious disease or travel.