Bacteria from the genus Legionella are ubiquitous in nature and are commonly found in environmental sources such as lakes, rivers and streams, as well as drinking water sources, cooling towers, and air conditioning systems. Upon inhalation or aspiration of contaminated water droplets, Legionella can cause infections such as Pontiac Fever or Legionnaires disease in humans.

GAP EnviroMicrobial Services has been accredited by the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation (CALA) for culturable Legionella analysis since 2002, and is the only laboratory in Canada accredited by CALA for PCR presence/absence Legionella analysis. GAP participates in a proficiency testing program provided by RTC Corporation as part of our accredition for Legionella analysis and also participates in profiency testing and is a member the CDC ELITE program.

For culturable analysis GAP employs the gold standard culturable method for the isolation, identification, and enumeration of Legionella spp.from environmental samples. Culture plates are screened individually for isolates exhibiting Legionella-like characteristics by trained personnel for 10 days. These isolates are confirmed by further culture techniques, serological testing, and in some instances, multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). In most cases identification of Legionella to the serotype level is possible (ie. Legionella pneumophila serotype 1, or L. pneumophila serotype 2-14). For the PCR presence/absence detection of Legionella, GAP has developed a sensitive molecular PCR method that allows for rapid Legionella detection with results are available in as little as 24 hours.

Additional information regarding Legionella bacteria and sampling considerations can be found at the following links:
Legionella fact sheet
Legionella sampling FAQ