Legionella pneumophila virus viewed under an electron microscope. (Photograph: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).
Legionnaires' Testing Method for Building Owners and Facility Managers
IDEXX, the global leader in rapid microbiology testing for water, today announced the introduction of Legiolert, a new culture testing method that enables building owners and facility managers to simplify water testing and reduce the risk posed by Legionnaires’ disease. Legiolert is a highly sensitive method for the confirmed detection of Legionella pneumophila (L. pneumophila), in water for use across Europe, the Middle East and Africa and delivers results to decision makers up to seven days faster than traditional testing methods. Legionella pneumophila is the most common Legionella species in water and the primary cause of Legionnaires’ disease, which is deadly for about 1 in 10 people who contract it and often causes long-lasting symptoms for survivors.
Launched in 2016 in North America, Legiolert improves public health response times by accurately and sensitively quantifying L. pneumophila in water, providing a confirmed result in 7 days, versus up to 14 days with traditional culture methods. The new test does not require laborious colony counting or confirmation steps which reduce the need for training and the risk of interpretation errors and frees up time for laboratory staff.
Leading water microbiology consultant David Sartory recently concluded that the IDEXX Legiolert™/Quanti-Tray® test is superior to the standard method for quantifying L. pneumophila. His assessment was part of a peer reviewed study, “Evaluation of a most probable number method for the enumeration of Legionella pneumophila from potable and related water samples,” published in the April 2017 issue of Letters in Applied Microbiology.
“IDEXX Water is the global leader in water microbiology. With Legiolert, we continue our commitment to innovation in diagnostic technologies to improve the safety and quality of water worldwide,” commented Andrew Headland, Senior Business Manager for IDEXX Water. He added, “Legiolert is so much more sensitive and accurate than current culture methods. Combined with the fact that the product is extremely easy to use and requires minimal training, we expect to see an increase in on-site testing for Legionella pneumophila as well as wide-scale adoption in laboratories.”
The Legiolert test is based on a bacterial enzyme detection technology that signals the presence of L. pneumophila through utilisation of a substrate present in the Legiolert reagent. L. pneumophila cells grow rapidly and reproduce using the rich supply of amino acids, vitamins and other nutrients present in the Legiolert reagent. Actively growing strains of Legionella pneumophila use the added substrate to produce a brown colour indicator.
Though the disease is largely preventable, diagnosed cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Europe reached their highest rate ever in 2014, with 13.5 notifications per million inhabitants, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. For hospitals, nursing homes, hotels and other high-risk buildings, testing drinking water, cooling towers and other building water systems is the only way to ensure an effective risk management plan against Legionella pneumophila.
For more information on IDEXX Water’s Legiolert test and water safety testing, please visit: www.idexx.co.uk/water/products/legiolert.html.
About IDEXX Water
IDEXX Water is a global provider of water testing solutions that deliver easy, rapid, accurate and cost-effective information on water quality to laboratories and public utilities around the world. IDEXX entered the water testing market in 1993 with Colilert®, now one of the most frequently used testing methods for the detection of coliforms and E. coli in water worldwide. More recently, IDEXX launched Pseudalert® for 24-hour detection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in hospital water systems, pools, spas and bottled water. The Pseudalert® Test detects P. aeruginosa quickly to help safeguard against infections in sensitive populations.