Infection due to Legionella species other than L. pneumophila

Clin Infect Dis. 2002 Oct 15;35(8):990-8. doi: 10.1086/342884. Epub 2002 Sep 24.


In addition to Legionella pneumophila, 19 Legionella species have been documented as human pathogens on the basis of their isolation from clinical material. Like L. pneumophila, other Legionella species are inhabitants of natural and man-made aqueous environments. The major clinical manifestation of infection due to Legionella species is pneumonia, although nonpneumonic legionellosis (Pontiac fever) and extrapulmonary infection may occur. The majority of confirmed infections involving non-pneumophila Legionella species have occurred in immunosuppressed patients. Definitive diagnosis requires culture on selective media. Fluoroquinolones and newer macrolides are effective therapy. A number of nosocomial cases have occurred in association with colonization of hospital water systems; elimination of Legionella species from such systems prevents their transmission to susceptible patients. It is likely that many cases of both community-acquired and nosocomial Legionella infection remain undiagnosed. Application of appropriate culture methodology to the etiologic diagnosis of pneumonia is needed to further define the role of these organisms in disease in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Legionella pneumophila
  • Legionella*
  • Legionellosis* / diagnosis
  • Legionellosis* / drug therapy
  • Legionellosis* / epidemiology
  • Legionellosis* / prevention & control