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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 514395, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/514395
Research Article

Characterization of Legionella pneumophila Isolated from Environmental Water and Ashiyu Foot Spa

1The United Graduate School of Veterinary Science, Yamaguchi University, 1677-1 Yoshida, Yamaguchi 753-8515, Japan
2Laboratory of Veterinary Public Health, Joint Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Yamaguchi University, 1677-1 Yoshida, Yamaguchi 753-8515, Japan

Received 27 May 2013; Accepted 25 June 2013

Academic Editor: Hiroshi Asakura

Copyright © 2013 Masato Tachibana et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Hot springs are the most common infectious source of Legionella pneumophila in Japan. However, little is known about the association between L. pneumophila and environmental waters other than hot springs. In this study, water samples from 22 environmental water sites were surveyed; of the 22 samples, five were L. pneumophila positive (23%). L. pneumophila was mainly isolated from ashiyu foot spas, a type of hot spring for the feet (3/8, 38%). These isolates had genetic loci or genes that encoded the virulence factors of L. pneumophila. Moreover, these isolates showed higher intracellular growth and stronger cytotoxicity compared with the reference strain. These results suggest that ashiyu foot spa can be the original source for L. pneumophila infection.