Assessment of real-time PCR for quantification of Legionella spp. in spa water
AIMS: Legionella bacteria ubiquitously colonize natural freshwater and are responsible for legionellosis in humans. Several cases of legionellosis have been associated in particular with the use of whirlpool spas. The objective of this study was to verify whether real-time PCR is applicable for the quantification of Legionella spp. in spa water. METHODS AND RESULTS: The study compared concentrations obtained by real-time PCR vs that obtained by conventional culture for 101 spa water samples. For the culture method, Legionella spp. were detected and quantified in 14 of 101 samples with measured concentrations ranging from 250 to 3.5 × 10(5) CFU l(-1). With the real-time PCR method, Legionella spp. were detected and quantified in 42 of 101 samples with concentrations ranging from 1000 to 6.1 × 10(7) GU l(-1). Results revealed a significant but weak correlation (r(2) = 0.1867) between the two methods. The positive predictive value (35%) of the PCR method compared to conventional culture herein was low. In contrast, the negative predictive value was excellent, reaching 93%. CONCLUSIONS: Real-time PCR could be used as a screening tool to rapidly ascertain the absence of Legionella spp. in spa water. However, a positive result involves the need to resort to conventional culture. SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: Data of this study highlighted the pros and cons of quantification of Legionella spp. in spa water with real-time PCR using a commercial quantitative PCR kit in a routine laboratory, when compared to conventional culture.
Date de publication (Zotero)