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Legionella PCR Sampling

Legionella Sampling for PCR Testing


  • To detect viable and non-viable cells of Legionella pneumophila and/or Legionella species* in potable and non-potable water or from swab samples. The PCR test can be a valuable tool to quickly identify a source of Legionella bacteria in an outbreak situation. We recommend following up with culture analysis because PCR can not differentiate between viable and non-viable cells.

Advantages and Disadvantages

  • Fast and accurate detection of Legionella bacteria.
  • PCR test can not differentiate between viable and non-viable cells.


  • Clean collection bottles (if culture testing is requested. In addition sodium thiosulfate should be added to neutralize effects of chlorine)
  • Swab


  • Collect a minimum of 100 ml water for PCR testing. If culture testing and PCR are requested, follow sampling instructions for culture test.
  • Swab inside of shower heads, faucets, and other surfaces that are likely to contain bacteria using the pre-wetted swab pad. Take second swab for culture test from the same area if follow up with culture is requested.


  • Ship samples for overnight delivery on ice packs to the laboratory.