Rapid diagnosis of Legionnaires' disease by latex agglutination

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1983 May;127(5):559-62. doi: 10.1164/arrd.1983.127.5.559.


We developed a latex agglutination test to detect antigen(s) of serogroup 1 Legionella pneumophila in urine and evaluated its ability to diagnose legionnaires' disease. Antigen was detected in 46, or 70%, of 66 patients with serogroup 1 legionnaires' disease but in none of 51 patients with various bacteremic infections nor 60 with urinary tract infections. One of 50 patients with other pulmonary infections was antigen-positive, an immunosuppressed patient with Pneumocystis carinii infection. Seven other patients infected with P. carinii were negative. When compared with radioimmunoassay (RIA) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using serial dilutions of a single antigen-containing urine, latex agglutination was 16-fold less sensitive. However, 82% of RIA- or ELISA-positive specimens were positive by latex agglutination. Latex agglutination is simpler and more rapid than ELISA or RIA, and it should prove valuable in situations where ELISA or RIA are unavailable or unaffordable.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Bacterial / urine*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Humans
  • Latex Fixation Tests
  • Legionella / immunology*
  • Legionnaires' Disease / diagnosis*
  • Legionnaires' Disease / urine
  • Radioimmunoassay


  • Antigens, Bacterial