In the summer of 1976, 4,000 American Legionnaires descended upon the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for a four-day convention. Several days later, many of the attendees experienced symptoms of severe pneumonia. By the beginning of August, 22 people had died. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that about 180 people were sickened and 29 people died before this mysterious outbreak burnt out.

In the months that followed, the CDC went into full epidemic investigation mode, and by January 1977, an organism had been isolated from lung tissue of… more


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