About Pontiac Fever

Minnesota Department of Health
Revised 3/2013

Download a print version of this document:
Pontiac Fever Fact Sheet (PDF: 19KB/1 page)

On this page:
What is Pontiac fever?
What are the symptoms?
Who is at risk?
How is it spread?
How is it treated?

What is Pontiac fever?

  • Pontiac fever is a milder flu-like illness caused by exposure to Legionella bacteria (see also Legionnaires’ disease).  It often does not require treatment.

What are the symptoms?

  • Symptoms include:
    • fever
    • chills
    • headache
    • muscle aches
    • loss of appetite
    • tiredness
    • and occasionally diarrhea
  • Symptoms generally occur within 24-48 hours of exposure to Legionella bacteria.

Who is at risk?

  • Persons of any age are at risk for Pontiac fever.

How is it spread?

  • Pontiac fever is spread by inhalation of fine spray (aerosol) particles from water sources containing the Legionella bacteria.
  • Persons can be exposed in their homes, at work, in hospitals, or other public places.
  • Pontiac fever is not spread from person to person.

How is it treated?

  • Pontiac fever is usually not treated with antibiotics. 

  • Most people recover within 2-5 days.

Updated Tuesday, April 02, 2013 at 08:46AM