Legionella was first recovered from the blood of a soldier more than 50 years ago, but its importance as a human pathogen was not recognized until 1976, when a mysterious epidemic of pneumonia struck members of the Pennsylvania American Legion. The disease was dubbed Legionnaire's disease by the press. Within 6 months a bacterium, subsequently named Legionella pneumophila, had been isolated and definitively established as the agent, thanks to the efforts of many investigators from Pennsylvania and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. A general term for disease produced by Legionella species is legionellosis.
Copyright © 1996, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.