National survey of physicians in Japan regarding their use of diagnostic tests for legionellosis

Takeshi Kinjo, Akihiro Ito, Makoto Ishii, Kosaku Komiya, Mari Yamasue, Tetsuo Yamaguchi, Yoshifumi Imamura, Naoki Iwanaga, Kazuhiro Tateda, Kazuyoshi Kawakami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Bacterial culture remains the gold standard for the diagnosis of legionellosis. However, past reports indicate that most physicians use the urinary antigen test (UAT) alone. Combining it with other tests is important, especially in patients with negative UAT results. The aim of this study was to investigate the current situation of legionellosis diagnostics and clarify the issues that need to be addressed. Methods: Between March 1, 2021 and April 30, 2021, a questionnaire survey was conducted in an anonymous manner among physicians working in Japan. Questionnaires were generated on a website and asked questions in a multiple-choice format. Results: Valid responses were received from 309 physicians during the study period. Most (92.9%) physicians reported using UAT as the initial test for patients suspected of having legionellosis, and <10% reported using other tests (e.g., culture, nucleic acid amplification test [NAAT], Gimenez staining, and serum antibody titer measurement [ATM]). When the initial test result was negative, 63% of physicians reported not conducting additional tests. Even when they chose to run additional tests, at most 27.8%, 23.6%, 12.3%, and 10.4% of all physicians used NAAT, culture, Gimenez staining, and serum ATM, respectively. The major reasons for not using tests other than UAT were “unavailability in the medical facility,” “long turn-around time,” and “difficult to collect sputum.” Conclusions: The present survey revealed that most physicians in Japan used UAT alone for diagnosing legionellosis. Eliminating barriers to creating a reasonable environment and edification of physicians are needed to improve the current situation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-134
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Infection and Chemotherapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Feb


  • Legionella pneumophila
  • Legionellosis
  • Questionnaire
  • Serogroup
  • Survey
  • Urinary antigen test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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