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Pontiac Fever


Pontiac fever is a flu-like condition caused by Legionella bacteria. Legionella bacteria are usually found in warm water sources. You may become infected when you breathe in steam or water droplets filled with Legionella bacteria. Pontiac fever usually goes away on its own without treatment.


Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have new or increased shortness of breath or chest pain.
  • You cough up blood.

Call your doctor if:

  • You have shaking chills and a fever.
  • You have very dry skin, dry mouth and tongue, or feel very thirsty.
  • Someone in your home or workplace has signs or symptoms of Pontiac fever.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Antibiotics may be given to treat your infection.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Prevent Pontiac fever:

Have your air conditioning system, hot tub, or water tanks cleaned often. Ask which cleaning fluid you should use to kill Legionella bacteria.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.