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Med Mal Infect. 2006 Apr;36(4):196-200. Epub 2006 Feb 3.

[Intra-amoebal development of Legionella pneumophila and the potential role of amoebae in the transmission of Legionnaires' disease].

[Article in French]

Author information

  • 1Cellule régionale d'hygiène de Lorraine, hôpital Brabois-Adultes, Vandoeuvre, France.


Legionnaires' disease is one of the major infectious risks related to hospital water systems. It is commonly accepted, that the disease is transmitted to man mostly by inhalation of water aerosols contaminated by Legionella pneumophila. The ability of L. pneumophila to multiply intracellularly within some amoebae better explains the ecology, the pathogenicity, and the virulence of this bacterium against human alveolar macrophages. The presence of these amoebae in water systems located where cases of Legionnaire's disease broke out, partly explains the difficulty in eradicating Legionella. Some studies also show that amoebae can play a major role in the transmission of the disease to man. Some other studies point out that inhaled amoebae could be involved in the pathogenesis of Legionnaire's disease. Future strategies to prevent the transmission of Legionella will probably have to include efficient treatments against amoebae.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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