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Description:Magnified 400X, this micrograph depicted details displayed by a specimen consisting of lung tissue from a Knoxville patient with a fatal pneumonia due to Legionnaires’ disease. A fluorescent antibody stain was implemented consisting of the Knoxville strain conjugate, i.e., an antibody with an affinity to L. pneumophila bacterial antgen, and a fluorochrome, which is a fluorescent dye, e.g. fluorescein isothiocyanate. The presence of the Legionella bacteria was evidenced when the antibody-dye complex became bound to serum antigen circulating throughout the patient due to the presence of the pathogen. Subsequently, when the antibody conjugate-antigen complex was exposed to light it produced a fluorescent effect.
How do people get Legionnaires’ disease?

People get Legionnaires' disease when they breathe in a mist or vapor (small droplets of water in the air) that has been contaminated with the bacteria. One example might be from breathing in the steam from a whirlpool spa that has not been properly cleaned and disinfected.

The bacteria are NOT spread from one person to another person.

Outbreaks are when two or more people become ill in the same place at about the same time, such as patients in hospitals. Hospital buildings have complex water systems, and many people in hospitals already have illnesses that increase their risk for Legionella infection.

Other outbreaks have been linked to aerosol sources in the community, or with cruise ships and hotels, with the most likely sources being whirlpool spas, cooling towers (air-conditioning units from large buildings), and water used for drinking and bathing.

High Resolution: Click here for hi-resolution image (6.57 MB)
Content Providers(s):CDC/ Dr. William Cherry
Creation Date:1978
Photo Credit:
Links:CDC – Div. of bacterial and Mycotic Diseases – Legionellosis: Legionnaire's Disease (LD) and Pontiac Fever
CDC Organization
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Copyright Restrictions:None - This image is in the public domain and thus free of any copyright restrictions. As a matter of courtesy we request that the content provider be credited and notified in any public or private usage of this image.