Cytopathogenicity and molecular subtyping of Legionella pneumophila environmental isolates from 17 hospitals

M. Garcia-Nuñez, M. L. Pedro-Botet, S. Ragull, N. Sopena, J. Morera, C. Rey-Joly, M. Sabria

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7 Citations (Scopus)


The cytopathogenicity of 22 Legionella pneumophila isolates from 17 hospitals was determined by assessing the dose of bacteria necessary to produce 50% cytopathic effect (CPED50) in U937 human-derived macrophages. All isolates were able to infect and grow in macrophage-like cells (range log10 CPED50: 2.67-73 c.f.u./ml). Five groups were established and related to the serogroup, the number of PFGE patterns coexisting in the same hospital water distribution system, and the possible reporting of hospital-acquired Legionnaires' disease cases. L. pneumophila serogroup 1 isolates had the highest cytopathogenicity (P = 0.003). Moreover, a trend to more cytopathogenic groups (groups 1-3) in hospitals with more than one PFGE pattern of L. pneumophila in the water distribution system (60% vs. 17%) and in hospitals reporting cases of hospital-acquired Legionnaires' disease (36.3% vs. 16.6%) was observed. We conclude that the cytopathogenicty of environmental L. pneumophila should be taken into account in evaluating the risk of a contaminated water reservoir in a hospital and hospital acquisition of Legionnaires' disease. © 2008 Cambridge University Press.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-193
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2009


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