Disease due to the Legionellaceae (other than Legionella pneumophila). Historical, microbiological, clinical, and epidemiological review

Medicine (Baltimore). 1989 Mar;68(2):116-32. doi: 10.1097/00005792-198903000-00005.


More than 20 species of the Legionellaceae family of bacteria have been discovered since the discovery of Legionella pneumophila. Thirteen have been implicated as causative agents of pneumonia including the Pittsburgh pneumonia agent (Tatlockia micdadei, Legionella micdadei). Although outbreaks of nosocomial pneumonia in immunosuppressed hosts have been well-described, most cases have occurred sporadically in the community. The spectrum of disease ranges from severe life-threatening pneumonia to a self-limiting febrile illness (Pontiac fever). Isolation from the natural aquatic environment has preceded its discovery as agents of human disease in 6 species, while environmental isolation has not yet been obtained for 3 species implicated in disease. The mode of transmission is uncertain, but cases of dual infection by L. pneumophila and the newer species suggests that the epidemiology of these new organisms will be similar to that of L. pneumophila. The antibiotic of choice appears to be erythromycin. The historical background, epidemiology, microbiology, and clinical manifestations of these newly-discovered organisms are reviewed in comparative fashion.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Legionella / isolation & purification*
  • Legionellosis* / epidemiology
  • Legionellosis* / microbiology
  • Pneumonia / microbiology*