INFECTIOUS LEGIONELLA MAY HAVE EVOLVED IN THE LAST 80 YEARS

Legionella pneumophila is an environmental bacterium and the leading cause of Legionnaires’ disease, a type of pneumonia that can be life threatening. The organism lives in freshwater environments, but can live in a variety of manmade environments such as plumbing systems, hot tubs, water heaters, and cooling towers for air-conditioning systems. Researchers in the  United Kingdom and France analyzed the genomes of 337 L. pneumophila isolates of 5 different major types that cause infection in Europe. The sequences indicate that these types emerged independently in the last 80 years or so and “have adapted to new man-made environmental niches, which may be linked by human infection and transmission.”

 

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http://www.asm.org/index.php/microbiology-news/item/3112-legionella-adapted-recently-to-new-manmade-niches