The sensitivity of an indirect immunofluorescence antibody test (IFAT) and a rapid microagglutination test (RMAT) for the diagnosis of Legionnaires' disease caused by Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 was evaluated using serum specimens from 119 patients with bacteriologically confirmed infections. The sensitivity of both assays was found to be about 80%. In addition, antibody titres suggestive of L pneumophila infection were found in 40% of patients in the first week after admission to hospital. These data show that both assays can be used with confidence in the early diagnosis of Legionnaires' disease.
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