Legionnaires' disease in South Australia, 1979-1988

Med J Aust. 1989 Sep 18;151(6):322, 325-6, 328.


Laboratory investigations supported the diagnosis of legionella pneumonia in 108 patients in South Australia over the past 10 years. Legionella pneumophila was responsible for 91 infections: the serogroup-1 strain caused 81 of these. L. pneumophila serogroup 2 was the only other strain of L. pneumophila that was isolated from patients; it caused infection in eight patients. In two patients, the serological results did not distinguish between infection with L. pneumophila serogroup 1 and serogroup 2. Legionella longbeachae serogroup 1 accounted for the remaining 17 infections. Serological tests were used to make the diagnoses in 77 cases. Legionella spp. were isolated from 24 patients and were identified in the respiratory-tract secretions of a further seven cases by direct immunofluorescence microscopy. L. longbeachae serogroup 1 first was isolated from a patient with pneumonia in South Australia in May, 1987. Since then it has been isolated from specimens from six other patients. No evidence exists for a common-source outbreak of L. longbeachae but an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease that was caused by L. pneumophila serogroup 1 occurred in South Australia in 1986.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Agglutination Tests
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / analysis
  • Culture Media
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin M / analysis
  • Legionella / classification
  • Legionella / immunology
  • Legionella / isolation & purification
  • Legionnaires' Disease / diagnosis
  • Legionnaires' Disease / epidemiology*
  • South Australia
  • Time Factors


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Culture Media
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M