The Life cycle of Legionella – impact on detection and disease control.
Phases of Legionella life Cycle.
Legionella pneumophila has two distinct phases to its life cycle: the replicative phase where it multiplies and the motile, dispersal phase, where it is looking for a new host and moving freely in the water system.
In the motile phase, Legionella is at its most virulent and dangerous. Once free of the biofilm and in the general water system, Legionella can be taken up by aerosol droplets – caused by any agitation of the water near a water/air interface, e.g. a showerhead or cooling tower.
Humans can inhale the Legionella in the aerosol droplets and once in the respiratory system, the Legionella will attack human lung cells causing Legionnaires’ Disease.
The motile phase of Legionella is also sometimes called Viable but Non-culturable (VBNC). During this phase and when it is at its most dangerous to humans, the Legionella bacterium is not replicating and is therefore difficult to detect through culture methods.
Legionella life-cycle and antigen testing.
Legionella antigen, however, can be detected in either phase. This is one of the main benefits and differentiators of Hydrosense. Because the antigen test can detect Legionella in its VBCN form, the risk of false negatives is minimised and recovery rate is improved.
Research conducted for International Water Conference (IWC) shows that recovery rate of Hydrosense test is higher than culture test.
The Life cycle of Legionella – Impact on detection and disease control.
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