According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it has been reported that around 8,000 to 18,000 people are suffering with Legionnaires disease in the United States each year. Among these, in adults, approximately 2 to 15% of patients with community-acquired pneumonia requiring hospitalization and Legionellosis is considered to be the second most common cause of pneumonia that require Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admission. The mortality rate associated with Legionella infection patients is about 5 to 80% and it depends on certain risk factors. These risk factors are associated with the high mortality rate include age, belated antimicrobial therapy for infection and predisposing underlying conditions such as diabetes mellitus, chronic lung disease and immunodeficiency. For the patients with Legionella disease, effective antimicrobial therapy is considered as the standard initial empirical treatment therapy for community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) and for specific patients with nosocomial pneumonia.
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The Legionella is a rod shaped and gram-negative bacteria that can cause pneumonia (Legionnaires disease) or flu like illness (Pontiac fever). The disease caused by Legionella bacteria is termed as Legionellosis. A Legionella bacterium is a fastidious microorganism and it require special growth requirements for its survival, which include Iron presence, temperature above 68° F, L cysteine and biofilm. However, it can survive at minimal dissolved oxygen levels unlike other microorganisms and is resistant to chlorine disinfection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately about 40 different species of Legionella are present and 18 of those are infectious. Among all these species, Legionella pneumophilia bacterium can causes most of the diseases. Initially patients infected show symptoms such as headache, muscle pain, chills and high fever. Later, with the disease progression the patients show symptoms of shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, severe cough and mental changes. The infections caused by Legionella bacterium are categorized in to four types like subclinical infection (infection with no disease), pneumonia (Legionnaires’ disease), extra pulmonary disease and non-pneumonic disease (Pontiac fever).
Macrolides, quinolones, ketolides, tetracyclines and rifampin are various antibiotics used for the treatment of Legionella infection. Among these, Azithromycin is the drug of choice for treating this infection in children and for adults, certain flouroquinolones like levofloxacin and moxifloxacin are considered as the most efficient drugs. There are various diagnostic tests are available commercially in the market for the detection of Legionella bacterium in the body, which include blood tests, chest X-ray, sputum or lung tissue test and urine antigen tests.
The global market for Legionella testing is expected to record significant growth rate in the near future. The growth would be observed due to advancement in immunodiagnostic technologies and automation. Additionally, growth in this industry would be fuelled by entry of new market players, growing awareness about the disease and outbreaks of the infection in the developing countries. For an instance, according to the National Health Service (NHS), it was estimated that approximately 10 to 15% of people with Legionella infection would die due to severe complications such as lungs failure, kidney’s failure or septic shock. Hence, increasing prevalence of the infection would increase the demand for Legionella testing.
Geographically, North America accounts for the largest share of the Legionella tests market followed by the European region. The dominance of North America in this market is majorly seen due to rising number of patients suffering from Legionella infections and presence of large number of market players in this region. European Legionella tests market follows the North America market due to extensive promotion and funding for healthcare facilities by the European government such as Germany and the U.K.
Some of the major players operating in this market includes Abbott Laboratories, Becton Dickinson, Life Technology, Novartis Diagnostics, Bio-Rad, Beckman Coulter and Roche Diagnostics.
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