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Chapter 30 : Seroprevalence of Antibodies to Legionella pneumophila in Northern Italy
Several surveys show that Legionella pneumophila is also present in the animal species living in the natural environment. This observational epidemiological survey aims, primarily, at evaluating the antibody coverage with particular reference to previous infection (IgG) by looking at predefined populations based on predictable risk versus Legionella exposure. Second, some demographic characteristics are evaluated, in particular those that reflect behaviors or situations that seem to facilitate Legionella infection. Double-sample tests were used to enable initial separation of positives from negatives; then the positive ones were analyzed to carry out IgG-IgM labeling. Preliminary conclusions show that seroprevalence rate seems to be very low. Legionellosis can be suspected clinically, but diagnosis can be confirmed only by laboratory testing. Higher serum positivity among frequent users of sport facilities seems to be significant, as does the lower positivity of older in-patients with several hospitalizations. Positive sample confirmation and the evaluation of doubtful samples by means of indirect fluorescent-antibody assay method will help provide a more clear and comprehensive picture.