Medicine: Tracking the Philly Killer

Scientists find a lair for the Legionnaires' disease bug

Few ailments in the history of epidemic diseases have been more baffling than the one that struck more than 200 people during an American Legion convention in Philadelphia in 1976. Since then, disease detectives have isolated the bacterium-like organism that causes Legionnaires' disease. But if this dangerous form of pneumonia, which is now suspected of afflicting up to 45,000 people a year in the U.S. alone and requires treatment with the antibiotic erythromycin, is ever to be fully understood, researchers must know where the as yet unnamed infecting agent usually lives and how...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!