In another attempt to review some of the basics regarding Legionnaires’ disease and Legionella bacteria, this post will go over the mechanism of how an individual biologically contracts Legionnaires’ disease. To start, Legionella bacteria has to enter the lung, either through the aspiration of water which has been contaminated by Legionella bacteria or the inhalation of aerosolized water or soil which has been contaminated by Legionella bacteria.
When in the lung, the Legionella bacteria are eventually consumed by a form of a white blood cell known as macrophages. Once inside of the macrophages within the lung, the Legionella bacteria will multiply which causes the death of the macrophage and once dead, the Legionella bacteria are released, free to infect other macrophages within the lung. More severe forms of Legionella will kill the macrophages by blocking the fusion of lyosomes with the phagosomes inside of the host cell. Since the Legionella bacteria is normally contained inside of the phagosome which then merges with lysosomes, blocking this fusion from happening prevents enzymes from breaking down the invading bacteria and thus, makes the situation that much more severe.
Clearly this subject has far more details that could and should be covered. That said, the intention of this post is simply to provide a basic understanding of how Legionella bacteria biologically infects individuals, allowing for the development of Legionnaires’ disease. Perhaps this is a subject this site will explore again in greater detail however for now, this post will simply serve as a starting place for that kind of conversation.
Jules Zacher is an attorney in Philadelphia who has tried Legionnaires’ disease cases across the U.S. Please visit LegionnaireLawyer.com again for updates.