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Terms & Synonyms

Official WHO Definition

Generic term used to describe infections caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophilia which range in severity from a mild, febrile illness (pontiac fever) to a rapid and potentially fatal pneumonia (Legionnaire's disease) (WHO 2007).

Other Definitions


Interpretations and Explanations

Water is the major natural reservoir for legionellae and the bacteria are found worldwide in many different natural and artificial aquatic environments and ranges of environmental conditions such as: cooling towers; water systems in hotels, homes, ships and factories; respiratory therapy equipment; fountains; misting devices; and spa pools (WHO 2007).


WHO (2007) Legionella and the prevention of legionellosis.Fraser D et al. (1977) Legionnaires’ disease: description of an epidemic of pneumonia. New England Journal of Medicine, 297(22): 1189–1197.

Legionella and the prevention of legionellosis

WHO Lexicon page (translations and examples)

See also

External Resources


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