<-- Previous EpisodeNext Episode -->
Quincy goes to the Nomad Hotel in Lake Tahoe for a pathology convention. The convention draws to a close and Quincy prepares to return home – and then the hotel physician Dr. Larry Pines has Quincy paged. Several hotel guests have developed fevers, coughs, and extreme tiredness. Quincy and a few of his fellow pathologists must discover what’s wrong with these people – and the symptoms are disturbingly similar to Legionnaire’s Disease. Complicating matters are the hotel owner Al Ringerman’s desire to keep the illness out of the papers, and the presence of Rawley Dinehart, who just might be a syndicate front man here to muscle in on the hotel business. Quincy races the clock to figure out what’s killing the hotel guests.
Legionnaire’s Disease, now properly called legionellosis, is the more serious of two disorders caused by the Gram-negative microorganism legionella pneumophila, the other being the milder Pontiac fever. Legionellosis most often occurs in people with incompetent lungs, for example, smokers or older people with chronic lung disorders. Immunocompromised patients are also at risk. Most cases result from breathing water containing the l. pneumophila organism, as from a fountain or cooling tower.
The idea of legionellosis as a major threat somewhat dates the episode; a viewer must remember that when the episode was made in 1977, medicine did not fully understand this illness, and it had barely a year earlier infected over two hundred people and killed over thirty of them. Modern antibiotics have mitigated the hazard of this disease in large measure, but not entirely: as recently as 2005 it killed twenty one of one hundred twenty seven victims in Toronto, Canada.