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J Infect. 2008 Jan;56(1):1-12. Epub 2007 Nov 5.

Legionella spp. and Legionnaires' disease.

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  • 1Regional Laboratory of Public Health Haarlem, Boerhaavelaan 26, 2035 RC Haarlem, The Netherlands.


Infection with Legionella spp. is an important cause of community- and hospital-acquired pneumonia, occurring both sporadically and in outbreaks. Infection with Legionella spp. ranks among the three most common causes of severe pneumonia in the community setting, and is isolated in 1-40% of cases of hospital-acquired pneumonia. There are no clinical features unique to Legionnaires' disease. Macrolides and fluoroquinolones are the most widely used drugs in treatment. The availability of a good diagnostic repertoire, suitable for accurately diagnosing LD, constitutes the basis for the early recognition and treatment of the individual patient as well as for effective measures for prevention and control. This review summarizes the available information regarding the microbiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis and treatment of LD, with an emphasis on the laboratory diagnosis of infection with Legionella spp.

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