The genus Legionella is a pathogenic group of Gram-negative bacteria that includes the species L. pneumophila, causing legionellosis (all illnesses caused by Legionella) including a pneumonia-type illness called Legionnaires’ disease and a mild flu-like illness called Pontiac fever
Legionella may be readily visualized with a silver stain or cultured in cysteine-containing media such as BCYE. It is common in many environments, including soil and aquatic systems, with at least 50 species and 70 serogroups identified. The bacterium, however, is not transmissible from person to person: furthermore, most people exposed to the bacteria do not become ill
The side chains of the cell wall carry the bases responsible for the somatic antigen specificity of these organisms. The chemical composition of these side chains both with respect to components and arrangement of the different sugars determines the nature of the somatic or O antigen determinants, which are essential means of serologically classifying many Gram-negative bacteria.