Microbiology Test

Legionella culture

Dr. Simi Paknikar
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Simi Paknikar, MD
Last Updated on Apr 11, 2014
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Test : Legionella culture

Indications : The test is usually ordered when Legionnaire disease is suspected.

Commonly used samples for the test include:

Respiratory specimens - aspirates, abscess materials, lung tissue, pleural fluid, bronchoalveolar lavage, bronchial brushing, sputum

Other samples –Blood, Pericardial fluid

The fluids collected must be transferred to a sterile container and kept in a sealed bag. The samples are then cultured under laboratory conditions using suitable media.

Samples must be refrigerated or frozen depending on the delay in initiating the culture.

Physiology : Legionella are commonly found, gram negative, motile, aerobic bacilli belonging to the family Legionellaceae. Hospital-acquired Legionella infections are common. They occur mostly as a result of contamination in the water distribution, cooling and heating systems of hospitals.

Legionella culture test is carried out to detect and isolate the Legionella species in a given body sample.

Normal Range : No Legionella recovered

Interpretation : Normal samples will not show the presence of Legionella bacteria. The culture is allowed to grow for a period of seven days before reporting negative (normal).

Infected sample will show the presence of Legionella bacteria. This can be detected as soon as it is seen on the petri plates.

Legionella infection can be treated with antibiotics. It can however be life-threatening in chronic, untreated cases.

Sample : Lung tissue, other body tissue, pleural fluid, other body fluid, bronchoalveolar lavage, bronchial brushing, sputum.

Test Method : Culture on selective and nonselective media

Related Tests : Sputum culture, Legionnaires disease antibodies

References : +



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