About Pontiac Fever - Minnesota Dept. of Health

About Pontiac Fever

Revised 2/2019

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 mild flu-like illness caused by exposure to Legionella bacteria, which is found in water.
  • 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 breathing in water droplets in the air that contain  Legionella bacteria. 
  • Persons can be exposed to these water droplets 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 Monday, 30-Dec-2019 09:00:25 CST