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Pontiac Fever In An Automobile Engine Assembly Plant Caused By A New Legionella Species: Legionella Feeleii, SP. Nov.

Herwaldt-LA; Gorman-GW; McGrath-T; Toma-S; Brake-B; Hightower-AW; Jones-J; Reingold-AL; Boxer-PA; Tang-PW; Moss-CW; Wilkinson-H; Brenner-DJ; al-t
NIOSH 1983 Sep:20 pages
An epidemiologic and environmental investigation of an outbreak of Pontiac disease was performed at an automobile engine assembly facility. Most workers on one production line became ill during a 5 day period with a self limited illness. Symptoms were headache, severe body aches, high fever, and extreme fatigue. There were no fatalities. Workers completed questionnaires about medical problems, department and job description, contact with aerosol sources, and symptoms. Environmental samples were obtained when the workers first became ill and 4 weeks and 10 weeks later. A survey of affected workers and comparisons was undertaken. Smoke candle studies were performed to determine the extent of spread of production generated aerosols from various points in the facility. Forty six percent of workers suffered from the illness. Attack rates varied significantly by department; the attack rate gradient suggested an association between the work location and the risk of developing illness. A Legionella like organism, designated WO44C, was isolated from a sample of coolant obtained from the piston department. Testing of sera from cases and well persons against WO44C revealed 28 cases with seroconversions. The indirect fluorescent antibody titers to WO44C for cases were significantly different by statistical testing than those for well persons, possible cases, and comparisons. Smoke candle studies were consistent with the spread of coolant aerosols over the affected area. The authors conclude that WO44C, an airborne agent that spread throughout the facility from a source in the piston production lines, was the etiologic agent of a large outbreak of Pontiac fever. The name Legionella-feeleii is proposed as the name of this new Legionella species.
Biological-effects; Clinical-symptoms; Employee-exposure; Bacterial-infections; Toxic-effects; Clinical-diagnosis; Physiological-response; Disease-incidence; Case-studies;
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Division of Bacterial Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, NIOSH, Atlanta, Georgia, EPI 81-82-2, 20 pages, 27 references