Legionella pneumophila is a bacterium found in lakes, rivers, creeks, hot springs and other bodies of water worldwide. This bacterium is the most common cause of Legionnaires’ disease. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Legionnaires’ disease is a serious variety of pneumonia. The disease was not formally discovered until 1976, when more than 200 individuals were sickened in an outbreak in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State American Legion annual convention. Ultimately 29 of those individuals died as a result of the disease medical investigators at the CDC would later identify and name Legionnaires’ disease.
Legionella bacterium is not normally spread via human-to-human transmission. Instead, the bacteria are transmitted into the lungs by inhalation of contaminated water droplets. Rarely, people can contract the disease via drinking water.
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