Legionnaires’ Disease

Published on 01/11/2022 | by Waterline Admin

Brady MF, Sundareshan V.

2021 Jul 10. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan–. PMID: 28613558. (Book)



  • Legionnaires’ disease is caused by Legionella pneumophila. Pontiac fever refers to a benign, self-limited, acute febrile illness which is linked serologically to L pneumophila.
  • L pneumophila causes pneumonia and should be considered as a pathogen in any patient with atypical pneumonia.
  • The Legionella bacterium was first identified in 1976 in Philadelphia. Contamination of the water in the air conditioning system was suspected. Patients developed symptoms ranging from flu-like symptoms to multisystem organ failure. Of the 182 infected, 29 died.
  • Legionnaires’ disease describes infections caused by the Legionellaceae family.
  • The Legionella bacterium is a small, aerobic, waterborne, gram-negative, unencapsulated bacillus that is nonmotile and oxidase and catalase positive.
  • Legionella bacterium is a fastidious organism and will not grow anaerobically on a standard media. Buffered charcoal yeast extract agar is the medium of choice for isolation.
  • The Legionellaceae consists of more than 42 species. L. pneumophila is the most common species, and it causes 90% of the cases of legionellosis, followed by L. micdadeiL. bozemaniiL. dumoffii, and L. longbeachae.
  • Fifteen serogroups of L. pneumophila have been identified, with serogroups 1, 4, and 6 identified as the causes of human disease. Serogroup 1 is thought to be responsible for 80% of the reported cases.



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