Isolation of the Legionnaires' Disease Bacterium from Environmental Samples

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Abstract

We analyzed 24 environmental samples collected in or near the Indiana Memorial Union, where an epidemic of Legionnaires' disease occurred in early 1978. We conducted fluorescent antibody analyses and culture on F-G and charcoal yeast extract agars of each sample directly; splenic tissue of guinea pigs inoculated with the sample; and yolk sacs from embryonated eggs inoculated with splenic tissue of guinea pigs injected with the sample. Legionnaires' disease (LD) bacterium was isolated from seven of the 24 samples: one water sample from the air-conditioner cooling tower of the Union; three water samples from a stream near the Union; and three mud samples from the same stream. The LD bacterium strains were of three different serotypes. These findings indicate that LD bacteria may be widespread in nature.

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