J Clin Pathol 33:1179-1183 doi:10.1136/jcp.33.12.1179
  • Research Article

Preliminary report on the pathogenicity of Legionella pneumophila for freshwater and soil amoebae.


Legionella pneumophila, the causative organism of Legionnaires' disease, is pathogenic for free living, ubiquitous, freshwater, and soil amoebae of the genera Acanthamoeba and Naegleria. Some species support the growth of strains from serogroups 1 to 6, others only strains from certain serogroups. Initial studies with seeded material indicate that amoebal enrichment could be utilised for the isolation of legionellae from clinical specimens and natural habitats. It is suggested that a vacuole, or amoeba, full of legionellae, rather than free legionellae, could be the infective particle for man.