|Description:||This 1977 image showed Centers for Disease Control’s Joseph E. McDade, Ph.D. (left), and Charles C. Shepard, M.D. (right), working with a microscope in CDC’s Leprosy and Rickettsia labs.|
On January 14, 1977, the director of CDC's Laboratory Division, Charles Shepard, M.D., and microbiologist Dr. McDade, isolated the agent that had caused the Legionnaires’ outbreak.
Legionnaires’ disease is caused by a type of bacteria called Legionella pneumophila. The bacteria got its name in 1976, when many people who went to a Philadelphia convention of the American Legion suffered from an outbreak of this disease, a type of pneumonia (lung infection). Although this type of bacteria was around before1976, more illness from Legionnaires’ disease is being detected now. This is because we are now looking for this disease whenever a patient has pneumonia.