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A spotlight on Legionella
May 2018
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MUNICH, Germany—A research team at the Technical University of Munich recently announced the development of a rapid test for detecting outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease in 34 minutes. Among the different species of Legionella—rod-shaped bacteria that can multiply in warm water and disperse via cooling systems—Legionella pneumophila is the most dangerous. This species is the cause of 80 percent of all infections. Rapidly pinpointing the source of an outbreak is necessary to prevent additional infections, but current tests take approximately 10 days. The newly developed chip can detect L. pneumophila and determine which of the roughly 20 subtypes is present. The chip utilizes the microarray analysis platform MCR from GWK GmbH. This system can be used for clinical diagnosis and environmental hygiene, and when combined with a DNA-based method, it can distinguish between living and dead pathogens to assess if disinfection measures are successful.

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