Utility of real-time PCR for diagnosis of Legionnaires' disease in routine clinical practice

Bram M. W. Diederen, Jan A. J. W. Kluytmans, Christina M. Vandenbroucke-Grauls, Marcel F. Peeters, J.A.J.W. Kluijtmans

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The main aim of our study was to determine the added value of PCR for the diagnosis of Legionnaires' disease (LD) in routine clinical practice. The specimens were samples submitted for routine diagnosis of pneumonia from December 2002 to November 2005. Patients were evaluated if, in addition to PCR, the results of at least one of the following diagnostic tests were available: (i) culture for Legionella spp. on buffered charcoal yeast extract agar or (ii) detection of Legionella pneumophila antigen in urine specimens. Of the 151 evaluated patients, 37 (25%) fulfilled the European Working Group on Legionella Infections criteria for a confirmed case of LD (the "gold standard"). An estimated sensitivity, specificity, and overall percent agreement of 86% (32 of 37; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 72 to 95%), 95% (107 of 112; 95% CI = 90 to 98%), and 93% (139 of 149), respectively, were found for 16S rRNA-based PCR, and corresponding values of 92% (34 of 37; 95% CI = 78 to 98%), 98% (110 of 112; 95% CI = 93 to 100%), and 97% (144 of 149), respectively, were found for the mip gene-based PCR. A total of 35 patients were diagnosed by using the urinary antigen test, and 34 were diagnosed by the 16S rRNA-based PCR. With the mip gene PCR one more case of LD (n = 36; not significant) was detected. By combining urinary antigen test and the mip gene PCR, LD was diagnosed in an additional 4 (11%) patients versus the use of the urinary antigen test alone. The addition of a L. pneumophila-specific mip gene PCR to a urinary antigen test is useful in patients with suspected LD who produce sputum and might allow the early detection of a significant number of additional patients
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671-677
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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