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Woman Seeks $5 Million after Contracting Legionnaires’ disease

EMSL Analytical offers PCR and traditional culturing methods to quickly and accurately identify microbial pathogens such as Legionella.


Cinnaminson, NJ, November 27, 2013

Last month, Alabama’s ABC 33/40 published a report about a local woman filing a lawsuit against the owners of a motel in Kentucky. The woman claims she got Legionnaires’ disease at the hotel from a contaminated air conditioning unit.  She is seeking $5 million.

Legionnaires’ disease is caused by a type of bacteria known as Legionella. The bacteria are found naturally in the environment, usually in water.  People get Legionnaires’ disease when they breathe in an aerosolized mist containing the bacteria. Outbreaks have been associated with hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, plumbing systems and decorative fountains in the past.

When someone does come down with Legionnaires’ disease, it is important to be able to quickly identify the source of the bacteria. There are several ways that laboratories can identify Legionella bacteria, including culturing which is considered the “gold standard” worldwide.

One of the leading testing facilities in North America for Legionella is EMSL Analytical, Inc.  “At EMSL we offer culturing, PCR and DNA sequencing test methods for the identification of Legionella,” said Charles Li, Ph.D., Director of PCR and DNA Analysis at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Our PCR broad screen Legionella panel detects the presence or absence of 50 species of Legionella spp.  PCR testing can provide results in hours, instead of days. DNA sequencing can identify the strains of Legionella pneumophila serotype 1 (Lp1) which can prove an association between the Lp1 found in the clinical sample and the Lp1 found in the environmental sample. DNA sequencing is useful in epidemiological investigations of outbreaks to compare strain types of Lp1 which is estimated to cause 85% of the Legionnaires’ disease cases in the US.”

EMSL has developed a dedicated website with more information about Legionella that can be found at EMSL has also sponsored several educational video about Legionella that can be viewed at:  

To learn more about Legionella or other indoor air quality (IAQ) and microbial pathogen testing services, please visit, email or call (800) 220-3675.

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of quality environmental, indoor air quality and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal agencies. 



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