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Testing for legionella is very different for testing for the actual infection known as Legionnaires Disease. Legionella exists naturally in outside water sources but it is harmless as the temperature is usually too cold for it to develop. Within internal water systems there is usually a hot water source where water is heated to temperatures where legionella can thrive.

Regular legionella testing and analysis can ensure that any build of the bacteria is spotted early and can be dealt with. It is not sufficient to know how to test for legionella, an external water test needs to be done and an analysis provided. This will indicate the presence of the bacteria and if there is work required to remove the legionella. Every organisation that provides public access to a hot water supply, including for staff members, needs to ensure regular legionella risk assessments and checks are scheduled.

Testing for Legionella

If a person is suspected of having contracted Legionnaires Disease they will be subjected to medical testing and checks. Blood tests and sputum tests can be done to identify any bacterium that is causing a medical problem, and when these cultures are grown the legionella bacterium can be identified under a microscope.

More specialist blood tests can be used in testing for Legionnaires Disease that looks for antibodies that the immune system has specifically produced to combat Legionnaires Disease 

Also, a urine test can be employed in the testing for Legionnaires. It detects a specific protein that is present in the legionella bacterium.

Very rarely a lumbar puncture can be done to test the spinal fluid for the presence of Legionnaires Disease. This is to test to see if the disease has had an impact on the brain.