What is the role of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing in the diagnosis of Legionella infection?

Updated: Nov 13, 2018
  • Author: Mobeen H Rathore, MD, CPE, FAAP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Answer

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test

  • PCR assays to detect Legionella DNA in urine, BAL fluid, and serum samples have been used. Although commercial kits are available, the test is not widely used.

  • In adults, these assays appear highly specific but are no more sensitive than culture.

  • Published studies of Legionella diagnosis using PCR assays in children are limited but anecdotal cases continue to be reported. [12, 13, 27]


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