Legionella testing months after illness?

I was a guest at Polo Towers, Las Vegas in September during a Legionella outbreak there. I stayed a week and became very ill. I went to the doctor, the ER, and the pulmonary specialist. I was prescribed Leviquin twice a week. It did nothing. I then went to a clinic in Puerto Rico and got two Z packs that worked. I got home to find a letter from Polo Towers and Nevada CDC saying I was exposed and asking if I was tested for Legionella at the time. I was told it’s not a common thing to test for and I was not at the time. Is it true that you cannot test for it after recovery?

A blood test (Legionella antibody serology) or urinary antigen tests for Legionella are 2 tests for diagnosis. The antibody serology blood test still may be useful in diagnosing your illness.

Follow Up Question:

Thank you so much for the fast response. This will be accurate even seven months after recovery?

Follow Up Answer:

If the test is positive, it is circumstantial evidence that you contracted Legionnaire’s disease during the course of your illness. If the pulmonary specialist diagnosed pneumonia based on chest x-ray, the evidence is overwhelming. If the test is negative, the results have little meaning:

Two possibilities:

  1. You did not have Legionnaires’ disease
  2. You did have Legionnaires’ disease, but the antibody titer declined because the test was drawn late.

However, the antibody titer often reaches its peak 3 – 6 months later, and the rest remains positive for years in a few patients. So this test should be performed given the context of your letter from Nevada DOH. The Health Dept or your pulmonary specialist can arrange for the test. The pulmonary specialist should be given the info about the Nevada DOH letter. He might be able to assist you in confirming the diagnosis.