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Legionella 

Legionella
Chapter:
Legionella
DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198729228.003.0083
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date: 19 November 2019

Legionella are small Gram-negative rod-shaped bacteria. Ubiquitously found in nature, these bacteria exist primarily in aquatic environments, both natural and man-made. After transmission to humans via aerosols, Legionella species can cause pneumonia (legionnaires’ disease), influenza-like respiratory infection (Pontiac fever), or extrapulmonary infection. Although all Legionella species are considered potentially pathogenic for humans, Legionella pneumophila is the aetiological agent responsible for most reported cases of community-acquired and nosocomial legionellosis. In children, L. pneumophila is an important, although relatively uncommon, cause of pneumonia. The key to the diagnosis of legionnaire’s disease is to perform the appropriate microbiological tests. Clinical studies have shown that both macrolides and fluoroquinolones are effective for Legionella pneumonia. Fluoroquinolones are very effective in the treatment of legionnaires’ disease in immunocompromised children.

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