Caister Academic Press

Freshwater Ecology of Legionella pneumophila

Rafael A. Garduño
from: Legionellosis Diagnosis and Control in the Genomic Era (Edited by: Jacob Moran-Gilad and Rachel E. Gibbs). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2020) Pages: 7-76.


Legionella pneumophila is a Gram-negative freshwater bacterium that emerged in the mid-1970s as an opportunistic human pathogen and the causal agent of Legionnaires' disease. Legionnaires' disease is an atypical pneumonia which is always acquired from the environment. L. pneumophila is principally not transmitted from person-to-person which indicates that L. pneumophila is not adapted to the human host. In addition, L. pneumophila is an intracellular pathogen of amoebae, and infection of humans is merely accidental. This chapter discusses L. pneumophila as a highly adapted intracellular parasite whose existence depends on its ability to replicate intracellularly in free-living freshwater amoebae. The complex ecology of L. pneumophila is explored through its interactions with both the abiotic and the biotic components of the freshwater environment. Since L. pneumophila is a pleomorphic organism with many developmental, morphological and(or) physiological forms, a comparative analysis of the unique ecologies of relevant forms will be presented. Control measures used to mitigate the transmission of Legionnaires' disease and the risk management of water systems will be discussed in further chapters, though the information provided in this chapter contributes to the improvement of control initiatives read more ...
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