What are legionella?

Legionella are found predominately in hot water piping systems. Legionella pneumophila is particularly dangerous since it causes the Legionnaires’ disease (a serious form of pneumonia). Legionella grow best at temperatures between 20 and 50 °C, and when supplied with nutrients such as a biofilm in water pipes and / or sediments such as rust and boiler scale.

Diagnosing Legionella pneumophilia is difficult even for experienced doctors, since the clinical picture frequently resembles that of “normal" pneumonia. Thanks to state-of-the-art molecular biological detection methods, these dangerous pathogenic agents can now be detected within a very short period of time, thus making it possible to take suitable measures at an early stage.

Accredited Legionella analysis

As an approved drinking water laboratory, ifp is accredited for the conventional microbiological legionella analysis method (cultivation in a lab). This method takes 10 days due to legionella’s slow growth rate. This method provides you with a quantitative result given in colony-forming units (CFU) per 100 ml which enables you to draw conclusions about how badly your water is contaminated with legionella.

Moreover, ifp also offers serological typing of positive colonies. This allows you to differentiate between various serological groups of L. pneumophila and other species, e. g. after a known case of illness.

According to the German drinking water ordinance the technical threshold value for Legionella is 100 CFU per 100 ml.