Lab Test

Culture, Legionella

Legionella Culture, Legionnaires Disease, Pontiac Fever, Pneumophila

Test Codes




Specimen Collection Criteria

Collect: One of the following specimen types, in a sterile, screw-capped collection container:

  • Bronchial Brushings, Bronchial Washings, or Bronchoalveolar Lavage (BAL).
  • Autopsy specimens from the chest cavity.
  • Lung tissue.
  • Thoracentesis fluid.
  • Sputum (least preferred specimen type).

Physician Office/Draw Specimen Preparation

Deliver specimen to the Laboratory immediately after collection, refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F), in a sterile, screw-capped collection container.

Preparation for Courier Transport

Transport: All specimen types, in a sterile, screw-capped collection container, refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F).

Rejection Criteria

  • Specimens submitted in saline.
  • Specimens submitted in containers with formalin or that ever contained formalin.
  • Specimens in non-sterile or leaking containers.


Specimen Stability for Testing:

Room Temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F): Unacceptable
Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): 8 hours
Frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below): Unacceptable

Specimen Storage in Department Prior to Disposal:

Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): 7 days


Dearborn Microbiology Laboratory
Taylor, Trenton and Wayne sent to Dearborn Microbiology Laboratory for testing.

Royal Oak Microbiology Laboratory
Farmington Hills, Grosse Pointe, and Troy sent to Royal Oak Microbiology Laboratory for testing.


Sunday – Saturday, 24 hours a day.
Final negative results available within one week. 

Reference Range

No growth.

Test Methodology

Bacterial Culture.


Identification of Legionella spp. from respiratory specimens provides a definitive diagnosis of Legionnaires disease.

Clinical Utility

This test is useful for the diagnosis of Legionnaires disease.


Pasculle, A.W., and McDevitt, D., 2007. Legionella Cultures. Clinical Microbiology Procedure Manual, 3rd Edition. ASM Press. Washington, D.C., Section 3.11.4.

CPT Codes

LOINC:  593-4


Last Updated


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