Legionella SBT applied directly to respiratory samples as a rapid molecular epidemiological tool

Sara Quero, Noemí Párraga-Niño, Miquel Sabria, Irene Barrabeig, Maria Rosa Sala, Mireia Jané, Lourdes Mateu, Nieves Sopena, Maria Luisa Pedro-Botet, Marian Garcia-Nuñez

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2 Citations (Scopus)


© 2019, The Author(s). Legionnaires’ disease (LD) is an atypical pneumonia caused by the inhalation of Legionella. The methods used for the diagnosis of LD are direct culture of respiratory samples and urinary antigen detection. However, the sensitivity of culture is low, and the urinary antigen test is specific only for L. pneumophila sg1. Moreover, as no isolates are obtained, epidemiological studies cannot be performed. The implementation of Nested-sequence-based typing (Nested-SBT) makes it possible to carry out epidemiological studies while also confirming LD, especially in cases caused by non-sg 1. Sixty-two respiratory samples from patients with Legionella clinically confirmed by positive urinary antigen tests were cultured and tested by Nested-SBT, following the European Study Group for Legionella Infections (ESGLI) protocol. Only 2/62 (3.2%) respiratory samples were culture-positive. Amplification and sequencing of Nested-SBT genes were successfully performed in 57/62 samples (91.9%). The seven target genes were characterised in 39/57 (68.4%) respiratory samples, and the complete sequence type (ST) was obtained. The mip gene was the most frequently amplified and sequenced. Nested-SBT is a useful method for epidemiological studies in culture-negative samples, achieving a 28.7-fold improvement over the results of culture studies and reducing the time needed to obtain molecular epidemiological results.
Original languageEnglish
Article number623
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


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