"We Were There" - Legionnaires'

History, Mystery, and Discovery: 40 Years of Legionnaires’ Disease

Photo of the We Were There logo featuring Legionnaire's Disease.

On Wednesday, August 31st the “We Were There” lecture series presented “History, Mystery, and Discovery: 40 Years of Legionnaires’ Disease,” at the Roybal Campus, Alexander D. Langmuir Auditorium.

Welcome to “We Were There,” a quarterly lecture series featuring past and present CDC researchers as they share their personal perspectives on historically important, CDC-led epidemiologic and laboratory investigations. This series will provide insight into the rich past of CDC and give the audience a chance to hear first-hand accounts from the responders.

In 1976, more than 200 attendees of an American Legion convention in Philadelphia fell ill, and dozens died. Doctors were unable to pinpoint the cause of this mysterious and deadly outbreak. CDC’s disease detectives went to work, and though it took several months and countless hours, the responsible pathogen was eventually identified. In this presentation, David Fraser, MD, and Joseph E. McDade, PhD, will share some of their experiences from the initial investigations into what came to be known as Legionnaires’ disease. Isaac Benowitz, MD, will discuss his part in solving the mystery of the 2015 Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in New York City. Laura A. Cooley, MD, MPHTM; Claressa Lucas, PhD; and Jasen Kunz, MPH, REHS, will join them to discuss more of Legionella’s 40-year history. All six speakers will take part in a question and answer session.



Small image of poster
  • SPEAKER BIOS – Biographies for the 3 speakers and 3 discussants featured during the second “We Were There” lecture, “History, Mystery and Discovery: 40 Years of Legionnaires’ Disease”


  • EVENT POSTERimage icon – Poster signed by the 3 speakers: David W. Fraser, MD, Joseph E. McDade, Isaac Benowitz, MD. and the 3 discussants: Laura A. Cooley, MD, MPHTM, Claressa Lucas, PhD and Jasen Kunz, MPH, REHS
Page last reviewed: October 11, 2017
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