Legionella pneuophila is a kind of bacteria. It is a thin, rod-shaped bacteria which is Gram negative, meaning that it can be stained pink to view under a microscope. The size of the bacteria can vary although all of the Legionella bacteria will have the distinctive rod shape. These bacteria are motile and able to move through their environment. They have flagellum, long tails which propel the bacteria in any direction.
This bacteria contains both oxidase and catalase and will usually appear in colonies. It has to have cysteine and iron to thrive and will take these materials from a host body if needed. A protective measure of Legionella is its cell membrane made of lipopolysaccharides. The antigens present on the surface of the bacteria can vary widely and scientists have discovered at least 35 different kinds of antigens. These antigens make identifying the bacteria correctly a more difficult task.
Legionella pneumophila is an intracellular bacteria, meaning that it grows and lives inside of a host cell. The reservoir for the bacteria is typically ameaobae. These amoebae provide protection from the environment and provide an easy method of transmission to a host. The organisms can be spread to a human host and cause disease. The most common mode of transmission is through drinking water.
After being consumed. Legionella pneumophila is recognized by the body as being a foreign substance. Macrophages surround and engulf the bacteria but are unable to kill the microorganisms due to their protective abilities. Once inside the macrophages, the bacteria surround themselves in a vacuole which serves as a safe place to multiply. By secreting specialized proteins into the host cell, the bacteria is able to survive without being destroyed by the macrophages. Once replication has occurred, the cell will destroy the macrophage, releasing the bacteria into the body to infect more cells.
The disease associated with infection of Legionalla pneumophils is legionnaire’s disease. This disease is characterized by a high fever and pneumonia. The chances of being infected with this disease are increased during the summer months. It is common though for the disease to occur as single isolated cases and is not usually spread from host to host like respiratory diseases. A diagnosis is fairly simple and there are antibiotics which have proven effective against the microorganism. Fluoroquinolones are usually the standard antimicrobial drug that is given and should kill the bacteria quickly and efficiently.