Procedures for Collecting and Processing Environmental Specimens for Legionella spp.
- Collect water (1-liter samples, if possible) in sterile, screw-top bottles.
- Collect culture swabs of internal surfaces of faucets, aerators, and shower heads in a sterile, screw-top container (e.g., 50 mL plastic centrifuge tube). Submerge each swab in approximately 5 mL of sample water taken from the same device from which the sample was obtained.
- Transport samples and process in a laboratory proficient at culturing water specimens for Legionella spp., as soon as possible after collection.
- Test samples for the presence of Legionella spp. by using semiselective culture media using procedures specific to the cultivation and detection of Legionella spp.
- Samples may be transported at room temperature but must be protected from temperature extremes. Samples not processed with 24 hours of collection should be refrigerated.
- Detection of Legionella spp. antigen by the direct fluorescent antibody technique is not suitable for environmental samples.
- Barbaree JM, Gorman GW, Martin, WT, Fields, BS, Morrill WE. Protocol for Sampling Environmental Sites for Legionellae [5 pages]. Appl Environ Microbiol. 1987;53:1454-8.
- CDC. Procedures for the recovery of Legionella from the environment. Atlanta GA : US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service. 1992;1-13.
- Kozak NA, Lucas CE, Winchell JM. Identification of Legionella in the environment [23 pages]. Methods Mol Biol. 2013;954:3-25.
- Page last reviewed: February 5, 2013
- Page last updated: February 17, 2014
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