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Electron microscopy of the organism of Legionnaires' disease

Naturevolume 272pages825826 (1978) | Download Citation



LEGIONNAIRES' disease, an acute lobar pneumonia with a considerable fatality rate, gained its name from the explosive outbreak which followed an American Legion convention in Philadelphia in July 1976 (ref. 1). Since then, some smaller outbreaks and an increasing number of sporadic cases have been recognised in the USA2. There have also been reports of cases in the UK, from Glasgow, mainly associated with holiday travel3,4, and, as an indigenous occurrence, from Nottingham5,6 and London7. The causative organism, a small Gram-negative bacillus, has been cultured with some difficulty, its size being 0.3–0.5 µm in width and 2–3 µm in length, though longer forms up to 20 µm are not uncommon8. We present here electron micrographs showing the organism in post mortem lung tissue.

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    Fraser, D. W. et al. New Engl. J. Med. 297, 1189–1197 (1977).

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    Morbidity, Mortality Weekly Report 26, 443 (1977).

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    Lawson, J. H., Grist, N. R., Reid, D. & Wilson, T. S. Lancet ii, 1083 (1977).

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    Lees, A. W., Tyrrell, W. F. & Boyd, J. F. Lancet ii, 1187 (1977).

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    Ashford, R. F. U., Edmonds, M. E. & Shanson, D. C. Lancet ii, 1364 (1977).

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    McDade, J. E. et al. New Engl. J. Med. 297, 1197–1203 (1977).

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  1. Public Health Laboratory, City and Sherwood Hospitals, Hucknall Road, Nottingham, UK

    • F. G. RODGERS
    • , A. D. MACRAE
    •  & M. J. LEWIS


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