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Hot Tubs Contaminated with Legionella Bacteria Identified through PCR Testing

EMSL Analytical offers PCR testing services to quickly identify microbial pathogens to prevent illnesses.


Cinnaminson, NJ, February 20, 2013

High water temperatures in environments such as hot tubs can make it difficult to maintain the disinfectant levels needed to kill organisms like Legionella. Legionella is a type of bacteria that can cause a form of pneumonia known as Legionnaires’ disease. Each year, between 8,000 and 18,000 people in the United States are hospitalized with Legionnaires’ disease, a condition that can be fatal in some circumstances.

Legionella is naturally found in water, especially warm water. Hot tubs that are not cleaned and disinfected properly can become contaminated with the bacteria. Legionella can also be found at times in cooling towers, plumbing systems, and decorative pools or fountains.

“People get Legionnaires’ disease when they breathe in a mist or vapor that has been contaminated with Legionella,” reported Chalres Li, Ph.D., Director of PCR and DNA Analysis at EMSL Analytical, Inc., a leading microbial pathogen testing laboratory. “Certain groups of people are more likely to become seriously ill when infected. They include individuals who are 65 years of age or older, smokers, people with chronic lung disease and individuals with a weakened immune system.”

EMSL offers both traditional culture methods for detecting Legionella as well as rapid PCR testing services that can provide results in just a few hours instead of days to identify this pathogen. These PCR services are available for Legionella pneumophila and for a broad range of 50 Legionella species.

EMSL has sponsored a video about Legionella and hot tubs that can be seen at:

To learn more about PCR testing for Legionella or other microbial contaminants and pathogens, please contact EMSL Analytical at, call (800)220-3675 or email .

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental 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 regulating bodies.


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