BMJ Case Reports 2013; doi:10.1136/bcr-2013-008713

Molecular diagnostics and the public health management of legionellosis

  1. Trish Mannes4
  1. 1Research Department of Infection and Population Health, University College London, London, UK
  2. 2Regional Laboratory of Public Health, Haarlem, Netherlands
  3. 3RVPBRU, HPA Microbiology Services Division, London, UK
  4. 4Thames Valley Health Protection Unit, Chilton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Tom A Yates, t.yates{at}


In 2009–2010, we investigated four legionella cases notified over an 8-month period in two adjacent villages in South East England. Molecular techniques enabled us to conclude that three of the cases had distinct infections. The absence of an adequate respiratory sample in one case necessitated epidemiological investigations to exclude a potential common environmental source of further infections. One of the cases had spent a part of their incubation period in a country in South East Asia. DNA-sequence-based typing of their isolate showed it to be of the Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 (LP1) DNA-sequence type (ST) 481. Intriguingly, the only other two ST 481 isolates in the European Working Group for Legionella Infections database were among Dutch travellers to the same country in 2003 and 2006. This case makes clear the value of molecular diagnostics and the importance of obtaining adequate clinical specimens. The potential future uses for typing data are discussed.

Register for free content

The full text of all Editor's Choice articles and summaries of every article are free without registration

The full text of Images in ... articles are free to registered users

Only fellows can access the full text of case reports (apart from Editor's Choice) - become a fellow today, or encourage your institution to, so that together we can grow and develop this resource

Don't forget to sign up for content alerts so you keep up to date with all the case reports as they are published, and let us know what you think by commenting on the Editor's blog

Navigate This Article