Legionella bacteria, SEM

Legionella bacteria, SEM

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Caption: Legionella bacteria. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Legionella pneumophila bacteria, the cause of Legionnaires' disease. This rod-shaped, Gram-negative bacillus was first identified as a disease agent after a mysterious outbreak of pneumonia killed 29 American Legion members in 1976. It was found living in water tanks, showerheads and air-conditioning systems. The disease is contracted by inhaling airborne water droplets containing the bacteria. It causes fatal pneumonic lung disease in the elderly and unfit.

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