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Test ID: LEGI Legionella Culture, Varies

Reporting Name

Legionella Culture

Useful For

Diagnosis of Legionnaires disease


Because examination by rapid PCR increases sensitivity and provides faster results, Mayo Clinic Laboratories strongly recommends also ordering LEGRP / Legionella species, Molecular Detection, PCR.

Clinical Information

The Legionellaceae are ubiquitous in natural fresh water habitats, allowing them to colonize man-made water supplies, which may then serve as the source for human infections.


Legionella pneumophila and the related species, Legionella bozemanii, Legionella dumoffii, Legionella gormanii, Legionella micdadei, Legionella longbeachae, and Legionella jordanis have been isolated from patients with pneumonia (Legionnaires disease). The organism has been isolated from lung tissue, bronchoalveolar lavage, pleural fluid, transtracheal aspirates, and sputum. The signs, symptoms, and radiographic findings of Legionnaires disease are generally nonspecific.


Identification of Legionella species from respiratory specimens provides a definitive diagnosis of Legionnaires disease.


Organisms isolated are identified as Legionella species via matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization – time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) and/or 16S rRNA gene sequencing.

Report Available

7 to 10 days

Day(s) Performed

Monday through Sunday

Clinical Reference

1. Edelstein PH. Manual of Clinical Microbiology. 12th edition. Edited by KC Carroll and MA Pfaller. Washington DC: ASM Press; 2019. Chapter 51, Legionella; p. 905-920

2. CLSI. Interpretive Criteria for Identification of Bacteria and Fungi by Targeted DNA Sequencing. Second edition. CLSI Guideline MM18. Wayne, PA: Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute, 2018

3. Rucinski S, Murphy M, Kies K, et al: Eight Years of Clinical Legionella PCR Testing Illustrates a Seasonal Pattern. The Journal of Infectious Diseases. 2018 July 13;(218)(4):669-670

Method Name

Conventional Culture Technique

Specimen Type


Additional Testing Requirements

Because examination by rapid PCR increases sensitivity and provides faster results, it is strongly recommended to also order LEGRP / Legionella species, Molecular Detection, PCR.

Necessary Information

Specimen source is required.

Specimen Required

Specimen Type: Bronchial washing, bronchoalveolar lavage, bronchus fluid, chest fluid, chest tube drainage, empyema, endotracheal specimen, fresh lung tissue, heart valves, induced sputum, lingula (lung), lung biopsy, pericardial fluid or tissue, pleura, pleural fluid, protected catheter brush, sputum, thoracentesis fluid, tracheal secretion, transbronchial biopsy, or transtracheal aspirate

Container/Tube: Sterile container

Specimen Volume: Entire specimen

Specimen Minimum Volume

2 mL

Specimen Stability Information

Specimen Type Temperature Time
Varies Refrigerated 48 hours

Reference Values

No growth


Identification of Legionella species.

Test Classification

This test has been cleared, approved or is exempt by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is used per manufacturer's instructions. Performance characteristics were verified by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements.

CPT Code Information

87081-Legionella culture

87077-Ident by MALDI-TOF mass spec (if appropriate)

87153-Aerobe ident by sequencing (if appropriate)

87176-Tissue processing (if appropriate)

LOINC Code Information

Test ID Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
LEGI Legionella Culture 593-4


Result ID Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
LEGI Legionella Culture 593-4

Testing Algorithm

When this test is ordered, the reflex tests may be performed and charged.

Reflex Tests

Test ID Reporting Name Available Separately Always Performed
RMALD Ident by MALDI-TOF mass spec No, (Bill Only) No
ISAE Aerobe Ident by Sequencing No, (Bill Only) No
TISSR Tissue Processing No, (Bill Only) No


If not ordering electronically, complete, print, and send a Microbiology Test Request (T244) with the specimen.

Mayo Clinic Laboratories | Microbiology and Infectious Disease Catalog Additional Information:

mml-immunocompromised, mml-respiratoryinfections, mml-idsurveillance, mml-mbid-endocarditis