Legionella antibodies recognise Legionella pneumophila, a gram-negative, non-encapsulated bacterium of the genus Legionella, a member of the family Legionellaceae.
L. pneumophila is an opportunistic intracellular pathogen that was first recognised in a group of individuals, presenting with a lung infection, who had attended a convention in Philadelphia in 1976. It is the causative agent of a severe type of pneumonia referred to as Legionnaires’ disease. The symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include shortness of breath, cough, headache, fever and muscle ache, which can occur 2 – 10 days after exposure. Complications associated with infection may result in death. L. pneumophila may also cause a mild form of disease known as Pontiac fever, which is self-limiting and doesn’t require hospitalisation (CDC). Both forms of the disease may also be referred to as Legionellosis.
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