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The Legionellaceae are ubiquitous in natural fresh water habitats, allowing them to colonize man-made water supplies, which may then serve as the source for human infections.
Legionella pneumophila and the related species, Legionella bozemanii, Legionella dumoffii, Legionella gormanii, Legionella micdadei, Legionella longbeachae, and Legionella jordanis have been isolated from patients with pneumonia (Legionnaires disease). The organism has been isolated from lung tissue, bronchoalveolar lavage, pleural fluid, transtracheal aspirates, and sputum. The signs, symptoms, and radiographic findings of Legionnaires disease are generally nonspecific.
Diagnosis of Legionnaires disease
Because examination by rapid PCR increases sensitivity and provides faster results, Mayo Medical Laboratories strongly recommends also ordering LEGRP / Legionella species, Molecular Detection, PCR.
Identification of Legionella species from respiratory specimens provides a definitive diagnosis of Legionnaires disease.
Organisms isolated are identified as Legionella species via MALDI-TOF MS and/or 16S rRNA gene sequencing.
Although a semi-selective media is utilized, recovery of Legionella in specimens heavily contaminated with indigenous flora (ie, sputum) may be difficult.
Identification of Legionella species.
1. Edelstein PH, Luck C: Chapter 49. Legionella. In Manual of Clinical Microbiology.11th edition. Edited by J Jorgensen. Washington DC, ASM Press, 2015. pp 887-904
2. CLSI Document MM18-A, Interpretive Criteria for Identification of Bacteria and Fungi by DNA Target Sequencing; Approved Guideline. Vol 28, Number 12, April 2008. CLSI, Wayne, PA