In 2 new reports, scientists described advances in deciphering the genome
of the bacterium that causes legionnaires disease that may help investigators
understand the microbe’s adaptability and speed the development of new
Researchers from the United States, France, and Israel reported in late
September that they had sequenced a strain of Legionella
pneumophila derived from the 1976 isolate that caused a US outbreak
at an American Legion convention (Science. 2004;305:1966-1968).
The work revealed genes that “may account for Legionella’s ability to survive in protozoa, mammalian macrophages, and
inhospitable environmental niches and that may define new therapeutic targets,”
they noted. L pneumophila thrives in warm stagnant
water (such as that found in certain plumbing systems and hot water tanks)
and can cause illness when individuals inhale mists from such sources.
Stephenson J. Legionnaires Disease Advances. JAMA. 2004;292(19):2329. doi:10.1001/jama.292.19.2329-b