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24th August 2020  Content supplied by: IDEXX Laboratories Inc

Legiolert® Receives UK Acceptance for Legionella Testing

IDEXX has announced that the Legiolert® culture testing method for Legionella pneumophila (L. pneumophila), has been accepted by the UK’s Standing Committee of Analysts (SCA).

Legiolert, for the accurate analysis of samples from cooling towers, hot and cold water systems, spa pools and a variety of other water sources, 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.”

Legiolert was launched in Europe by IDEXX in 2017 and is a highly sensitive method for the confirmed detection of L. pneumophila in water, delivering results up to seven days faster than traditional culture testing methods. 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% 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 L. 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.

For more information on Legiolert and IDEXX Water please contact:


Units 1B and 1C, Newmarket Business Park, Studlands Park Avenue, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7ER

T: 01638 676800

E: wateruk@idexx.com

W: www.idexx.co.uk/water 


1. Surveillance report: Legionnaires’ disease in Europe (Years 2009-2015). Stockholm, Sweden: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control; published 2011-2017].

2. Spies, K. Pleischl, B., Lange B., Longer, B., Hübner, J., Jurzki, L.,Luden, K., Exner, M.  International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 221 (2018) 1047–1053. Full text here

3. D.P. Sartory, K. Spies., B. Lange., S. Schneider and B. Langer (2017) Evaluation of a most probable number method for the enumeration of Legionella pneumophila from potable and related water samples. Lett. Appl. Microbiol. 64(4):271-275

4. Petrisek R., Hall J. (2018) Evaluation of a most probable number method for the enumeration of Legionella pneumophila from North American potable and nonpotable water samples, Journal of Water & Health.

5. Rech, M., Swalla, S., Dobani, J. (2018) Evaluation of Legiolert for Quantification of Legionella pneumophila from Non-potable Water, Current Microbiology 

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Date Published: 24th August 2020

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