In July 1976, the American Legion convened at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia to celebrate the country's bicentennial. Within two days of the event's start, one veteran after another fell ill with pneumonia-like symptoms. Ultimately, 221 individuals were stricken, and 34 died.1 In January 1977, after months of investigation and speculation, the cause of the mysterious epidemic, which came to be known as Legionnaires' disease, was identified as a bacterium (Legionella ...

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