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May 16, 1977

Legionnaire Disease and St Elizabeth's Pneumonia

Author Affiliations

National Institute of Mental Health Washington, DC

JAMA. 1977;237(20):2186. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270470022003

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To the Editor.—  In a recent MEDICAL NEWS article on Legionnaire disease (237:752, 1977), it is stated thatThe bacterium has been linked to a 1966 outbreak of acute pneumonia at the St Elizabeth's Psychiatric Hospital in Washington, DC. The disease, which developed suddenly in 94 patients, with 76 deaths attributed to it, had remained unexplained.Actually, the outbreak was in 1965, and there were 18 deaths among 124 suspected cases.In addition to many clinical similarities between Legionnaire disease and St Elizabeth's pneumonia, there is another odd "resemblance." Just as the Legionnaire disease was found in hotel guests but was rare in hotel employees, St Elizabeth's pneumonia was found in patients but was rare in hospital employees.

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