I was sprayed in the face with water that had been sitting in the pipes of the spa for about 10 days. I immediately washed myself thoroughly, went to the doctor and he prescribed erythromycin for 12 days. This is my 5th day on the antibiotic and I haven’t shown any symptoms. I am normally a healthy person. Should I be worried about the possibility of having contracted the disease?
The mode of transmission is usually aspiration. Aerosolization can also transmit Legionella, but the aerosolization must be intense. For example cooling tower drifts and air conditioners, despite the publicity in newspapers, rarely, if ever, transmit Legionella. The few studies in peer review journals almost never consider other likely sources including potable water from residences or workplace and culture selection is heavily biased towards cooling towers. Vapors from water devices colonized with Legionella can transmit Legionella. So, being directly sprayed with water is unlikely to cause Legionnaires’ disease. The use of erythromycin essentially reduced a minute risk to zero.
Please inform your physician that erythromycin is no longer the drug of choice for Legionnaires’ disease. Other drugs (azithromycin, clarithromycin, levofloxacin, ciprofloxacin) are more potent and have fewer side-effects.