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Richard W Gilpin PhD Blog

Discovery of the genus Legionella

Valavane A, Chaudhry R. The summer of seventy-six—Legionella pneumophila monologue. Emerg Infect Dis. July 2017
 https://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2307.160546 

Human-made modifications of nature are the cause for troubles of humanity, and if we embark on disturbing nature we should be ready to pay for it. One classical example of our carelessness was reflected at the American Legion Convention held in 1976 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, which led to the discovery of genus Legionella. It was a team of scientists, led by Dr. Joseph McDade from the Centers for Disease Control (Atlanta, GA, USA), that isolated the bacterium from infected lung tissues in the wake of the initial outbreak, which later led to determination of the source (4). This team even provided answers for some retrospective unsolved respiratory illness.

Artificial water distribution systems are the main reservoirs of Legionella species, apart from natural freshwater sources and soil (5). The list of species identified in the genus Legionella keeps increasing day by day, and more than half of them have been implicated in human illness (6). The infection is considered preventable because person-to-person transmission of Legionella spp. has never been reported, except for 1 recent probable case (7).

RICHARD W GILPIN PHD