Legionnaires' disease is apparently a product of the American way of life, agreed researchers attending the recent International Symposium on Legionnaires' disease at the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Atlanta.
The illness is produced by an aerobic Gram-negative bacillus that finds its way from soil into the evaporation pans and filters of large air conditioners, said Jay P. Sanford, MD, dean of the School of Medicine of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Md.
With suitable temperatures and humidity, the bacteria multiply and are discharged as an infectious aerosol through the air conditioners' fans and exhaust vents. Thus, American living standards of high technology may unwittingly facilitate spread of the disease. As a preventative, said Theodore C. Eickhoff, MD, the manufacture of air conditioners might be modified by the inclusion of antiseptic or biocidal agents. Eickhoff is professor of medicine and head of the Division of Infectious