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Northeast Laboratories, Inc.

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Berlin Office
129 Mill Street, Suite 11
Berlin, CT 06037
CT 860.828.9787 or 800.826.0105
outside CT 800.654.1230
fax 860.829.1050
Contact the Berlin Office

Legionella and Legionaires' Disease

Northeast Laboratories is certified by the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health for performing Legionella testing. Contact us for information on cost and sampling.

Legionnaires' disease is a lung infection (pneumonia) caused by a bacterium named Legionella pneumophila belonging to the family Legionellaceae. This family includes 48 species and over 70 serogroups. Approximately half of these species are human disease causing bacterium.

The name Legionella pneumophila was derived from the original outbreak of the disease at the 1976 American Legion Convention in Philadelphia.

Legionella is not contagious and can only be transferred via drinking water. The most common way that people contract Legionella is when Legionella enter the body by "Aspiration" or by choking in such a way that secretions in the mouth get past the choking reflexes and enter the lung. Another widely held belief of transfer is when the organism is aerosolized in water and people inhale the droplets containing Legionella.

Legionella organisms are readily found in natural aquatic bodies and some found in soil. The organisms can survive in a wide range of conditions, however, temperature is critical. Colonization of hot water tanks, for instance, is more likely if tank temperatures are between 40 and 50C (104 to 122F).

The major water sources for Legionnaires' disease are distribution systems of large buildings including hotels and hospitals. Other sources include cooling towers, mist machines, humidifiers, whirlpool spas, and hot springs.

( Source: )

Sample Collection Procedures:

  • Samples should be taken from HOT water faucet, or any suspect source, (example, cooling towers, water fountain, reflecting pools, etc.).
  • Each sample should be collected in a 1 Liter, Sterile Container, containing 0.5 milliliters of 0.1 Normal Sodium Thiosulfate.
  • Samples are to be refrigerated or placed in a cooler with ice packs until delivery to laboratory.
  • Return samples to laboratory within 24 hours

Please view information for Chain of Custody.