The immune response to individual major antigens of Legionella bozemanii was studied in 67 sera from 26 inpatients with febrile disease using immunoblotting techniques. All the patients had fever of unknown origin and showed strong serological reactions to L bozemanii that cross-reacted with Rickettsia typhi, as determined by a standard indirect microimmunofluorescence assay. Sera analysed by western blotting reacted with 12-14 molecular components of L bozemanii with apparent molecular weights ranging from 14,000 to 94,000 daltons. These reactions compared well with a reference system using antisera of rabbits immunised with the same strain of Legionella. The three major cross-reactive components of R typhi were polypeptide antigens of 94,000, 67,000 and 43,000 daltons. It is concluded that western blotting can help in the differential diagnosis of patients with fever of unknown origin whose sera cross-react to L bozemanii and R typhi.
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