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Experimental human-like model to assess the part of viable Legionella reaching the thoracic region after nebulization.

Experimental human-like model to assess the part of viable Legionella reaching the thoracic region after nebulization.
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Pourchez J, Leclerc L, Girardot F, Riffard S, Prevot N, Allegra S,


Pourchez J, Leclerc L, Girardot F, Riffard S, Prevot N, Allegra S, (click to view)

Pourchez J, Leclerc L, Girardot F, Riffard S, Prevot N, Allegra S,

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PloS one 2017 10 0512(10) e0186042 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0186042
Abstract

The incidence of Legionnaires’ disease (LD) in European countries and the USA has been constantly increasing since 1998. Infection of humans occurs through aerosol inhalation. To bridge the existing gap between the concentration of Legionella in a water network and the deposition of bacteria within the thoracic region (assessment of the number of viable Legionella), we validated a model mimicking realistic exposure through the use of (i) recent technology for aerosol generation and (ii) a 3D replicate of the human upper respiratory tract. The model’s sensitivity was determined by monitoring the deposition of (i) aerosolized water and Tc99m radio-aerosol as controls, and (ii) bioaerosols generated from both Escherichia coli and Legionella pneumophila sg 1 suspensions. The numbers of viable Legionella prior to and after nebulization were provided by culture, flow cytometry and qPCR. This study was designed to obtain more realistic data on aerosol inhalation (vs. animal experimentation) and deposition at the thoracic region in the context of LD. Upon nebulization, 40% and 48% of the initial Legionella inoculum was made of cultivable and non-cultivable cells, respectively; 0.7% of both populations reached the filter holder mimicking the thoracic region in this setup. These results are in agreement with experimental data based on quantitative microbial risk assessment methods and bring new methods that may be useful for preventing LD.

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