Legionella detection by PCR

Registry Details

Area Health Science
Lab name Legionella Reference Laboratory
Lab location Kenepuru Science Centre, Porirua
Test name Legionella detection by PCR
Organisms Legionella species
Requested for surveillance yes
Notice required no
Routine turnaround time 5-10 working days
Culture requirements Lower respiratory tract samples, including bronchial washing, expectorated sputum, induced sputum, trans-tracheal aspirate, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, lung biopsy or post-mortem tissue
Pre-transport requirements All samples should be sent to the laboratory at 2-8°C within 24hrs of collection. For longer storage or delays in transportation, store frozen at -20°C and send samples frozen. Avoid freeze-thawing cycles.
Transport requirements Send chilled (2-8°C) within 24 hours
Unacceptable sample types Positive or negative for the detection of Legionella
How results reported Positive or negative for the detection of Legionella
Referral link Form


The Legionella PCR test is carried out weekly with a minimum turnaround time of 5 working days. The Legionella PCR test uses primers specific to the 16S rRNA gene of Legionella.

DNA sequencing confirmation of positive tests will identify the Legionella agent to the species level.

A negative result reflects no Legionella detected in the specimen, but does not eliminate Legionella as the causative agent. A positive result proves the presence of Legionella in the sample.


Information sheet on Legionella and Legionellosis [PDF, 137 KB]