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Water Cultures Are More Sensitive Than Swab Cultures for the Detection of Environmental Legionella

  • Brooke K. Decker (a1) (a2), Patricia L. Harris (a3), Diana L. Toy (a3), Robert R. Muder, Ali F. Sonel (a2) and Cornelius J. Clancy (a1) (a2)...


Water cultures were significantly more sensitive than concurrently collected swab cultures (n=2,147 each) in detecting Legionella pneumophila within a Veterans Affairs healthcare system. Sensitivity for water versus swab cultures was 90% versus 30% overall, 83% versus 48% during a nosocomial Legionnaires’ disease outbreak, and 93% versus 22% post outbreak.

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2018;39:108–110


Corresponding author

Address correspondence to Brooke K. Decker, MD, Infectious Diseases Section, Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System, University Drive C, Pittsburgh, PA, 15240 (


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PREVIOUS PRESENTATION. This work was presented as a poster abstract (no. 642) at the Spring SHEA conference on May 20, 2016, in Atlanta, Georgia.



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