TEM image of L. pneumophila, responsible for over 90% of Legionnaires’ Disease cases. Source: Wikipedia
Almost 40 years to the day that a mysterious illness broke out at an American Legion conference in Philadelphia — and changed the CDC forever — the culprit appears to be making a comeback in New York City. Legionnaire’s Disease seems to be back, but just what exactly is it?
In 1976, Philadelphia was the place to be if you wanted to think long and hard about America’s history and be aggressively patriotic. The year marked the nation’s bicentennial, and states held parades, celebrations and some of the most intense Independence Day barbecues that the US had ever seen.
July 4th, 1976 was a day for extreme patriotism. A few weeks later, Philly was still abuzz with red, white and blue — and the American Legion (an association of over two million veterans) held its annual conference at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel. 2,000 ‘legionnaires’ (as they’re called) to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
The convention ran from July 21st to July 24th. The first legionnaire death occurred on July 27th.