Background and Objectives: Legionella is one of the most important water-related pathogens. Inside the water supply systems and the biofilms, Legionella interact with other bacteria and free-living amoeba (FLA). Several amoebas may serve as hosts for bacteria in aquatic systems. This study aimed to investigate the co-occurrence of Legionella spp. and FLA in drinking water supply systems. Materials and Methods: A total of 268 water samples were collected from apartment buildings, hotels, and public buildings. Detection of Legionella spp. was performed in accordance with ISO 11731:2017 standard. Three different polymerase chain reaction (PCR) protocols were used to identify FLA. Results: Occurrence of Legionella varied from an average of 12.5% in cold water samples with the most frequent occurrence observed in hot water, in areas receiving untreated groundwater, where 54.0% of the samples were Legionella positive. The occurrence of FLA was significantly higher. On average, 77.2% of samples contained at least one genus of FLA and, depending on the type of sample, the occurrence of FLA could reach 95%. In the samples collected during the study, Legionella was always isolated along with FLA, no samples containing Legionella in the absence of FLA were observed. Conclusions: The data obtained in our study can help to focus on the extensive distribution, close interaction, and long-term persistence of Legionella and FLA. Lack of Legionella risk management plans and control procedures may promote further spread of Legionella in water supply systems. In addition, the high incidence of Legionella-related FLA suggests that traditional monitoring methods may not be sufficient for Legionella control.
Field of Science*
- 3.1 Basic medicine
- 3.2 Clinical medicine
- 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database