Legionella isolation from clinical specimens

Registry Details

Area Health Science
Lab name Legionella Reference Laboratory
Lab location Kenepuru Science Centre, Porirua
Test name Legionella isolation from clinical specimens
Organisms Legionella species
Requested for surveillance yes
Notice required yes
Routine turnaround time 10 working days
Culture requirements Lower respiratory tract samples including bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, bronchialwashing,trans-tracheal aspirate, lung biopsy or post mortem tissue. Other respiratory tract samples including deep throat swab from trachea, expectorated sputum, induced sputum
Pre-transport requirements 5 ± 3°C within 24 hours
Transport requirements 5 ± 3°C within 24 hours
Unacceptable sample types Sputolysin-treated sputum sample
How results reported Presence or absence indicating whether or not the organism was isolate. If present, then the identity to species and serogroup level will be reported.
Referral link Form


Legionella is a slow-growing fastidious bacterium. Legionella culture is considered the "gold standard" method for confirmation of legionellosis, but recovery is low. Legionella culture should be considered in conjunction with Legionella PCR and serology testing.

Isolation of Legionella by culture is provided to assist diagnostic laboratories in the investigation of incidents of potential public health significance on an as required basis. It is not a routine diagnostic service.


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