UK Approval for Legionnaires’ Testing Culture
The Legiolert culture testing method for Legionella pneumophila developed by IDEXX Laboratories has been accepted by the UK’s Standing Committee of Analysts (SCA).
Created to provide accurate analysis of samples from cooling towers, hot and cold water systems, spa pools and a variety of other water sources, Legiolert – which was launched in Europe in 2017 – is now specified as a recommended method in the Committee’s “blue book” publication of “The determination of Legionella bacteria in waters and other environmental samples (2020) – Part 2 – Culture Methods for their detection and enumeration.”
According to IDEXX, test results are typically delivered up to seven days faster than when traditional culture testing methods are used. L. pneumophila is the most common Legionella species in water and according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control clinical culture data, causes 97 per cent of all cases of Legionnaires’ disease1.
Legionnaires’ disease is deadly for about 1 in 10 people who contract it and often causes long-lasting symptoms for survivors.
A number of peer reviewed studies2-5 have highlighted superior performance of Legiolert when compared to the standard method for detection of Legionella pneumophila. The ISO method has a number of limitations including a significant false negative error rate which can result in undetected contamination and consequent risk to human health, especially in the case of vulnerable populations. In contrast, Legiolert is a culture method which is both accurate and easy to use. Legiolert is recognised with AFNOR certification for hot and cold sanitary water and cooling tower water (Reference No IDX 33/06 06/19).
The Legiolert test is based on a bacterial enzyme detection technology that signals the presence of L. pneumophila through utilisation of 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 L. pneumophila produce a brown colour indicator.
Legiolert is the latest IDEXX method specified as a recognised method by the SCA. Others include Pseudalert for the rapid, accurate testing of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Colilert®-18 for the rapid detection of coliforms and Escherichia coli, and Enterolert®-E for the isolation and enumeration of enterococci.