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June 4, 1982

Internal Medicine: Infectious Diseases

JAMA. 1982;247(21):2953-2955. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320460053020

New Diseases  Recent developments in the field of infectious disease include the detection of several new microbial pathogens, most of which appear to be old agents that are newly recognized. In 1977, Legionella pneumophila was successfully cultivated on artificial media, characterized, and proposed for taxonomic rank as a new genus. Reexamination of previously isolated organisms or stored serum specimens showed evidence for infections involving L pneumophila or related bacteria dating back to 1943.1 Data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now suggest that L pneumophila accounts for 28% of "unexplained pneumonias," but the reporting efficiency is estimated at only 1% to 2%, indicating either that legionellosis is overlooked or the diagnosis is not confirmed in the great majority of cases.2 The current proposed taxonomy includes six species of Legionella that appear to cause similar diseases and are susceptible to erythromycin.In 1980, an epidemiologist from Minnesota notified