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The AWQC is able to offer a rapid DNA- based Legionella assay.

Current testing for Legionella relies upon the use of traditional methodology that is based on AS/NZS 3896:2008. The method isolates and enumerates Legionella species in water by the spread plate technique. The sample of water is treated, inoculated onto specific media and incubated up to 7-10 days. Further tests are performed to confirm suspect Legionella like organisms. Confirmed Legionellae are identified as Legionella spp., Legionella serogroup 1 or serogroup 2-14 using rapid latex slide agglutination.

Rapid DNA Assay: The AWQC has developed a method that couples standard bacterial culture techniques with DNA technology to allow more rapid detection. Recently, the developed method was compared to the current standard method (AS/NZS 3896:2008) in an extensive field evaluation involving over 140 samples. The results indicate that the newly developed rapid method is as accurate as the standard method, but has a superior advantage in speed, with confirmed Legionella pneumophila counts available in as little as 3 days compared to 5-7 days by the standard method. These results have recently been published in one of the premier environmental journals, Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Importance of the New Test

The greatest advantage of the rapid test is the speed at which results can be delivered. Typically, depending on species, the turn-around-time is reduced by at least 3-4 days. The delivery of a timely result will therefore aid in the administration of remedial action much sooner than previously possible and potentially stop contaminated sources continuing to spread Legionella . Additionally, because the assay tests the DNA of the bacteria, it is highly sensitive and specific and reduces the chances of reporting an erroneous result.

A fact sheet provides further infomation on sample requirements  Legionella Fact Sheet