Legionella found in Qld hospital

Water systems at a south western Queensland hospital have returned positive results for Legionella bacteria.

Legionella bacteria has been found in a regional southwest Queensland hospital.

Routine testing carried out at Cunnamulla Hospital turned up positive results at the end of last month, prompting the South West Hospital and Health Service to hyper-chlorinate its water system and replace two showerheads and three taps.

"Once the water system had been cleansed and tapware replaced, the affected areas will be retested," chief operations officer Meryl Brumpton said on Friday.

"Clinical services at Cunnamulla Hospital have not been affected in any way and there is no risk to any patients or staff.

"Inpatients will have access to areas that have not been impacted and they will be able to continue using these."

The risks for staff, patients and visitors were low because the bacteria must be inhaled in the form of water droplets to have any chance of being infectious.

It is commonly found in the environment and it is generally only harmful to those who are already vulnerable, such as sick or immune-compromised people who are susceptible to infection.

Queensland's hospitals and public aged care facilities have had to test their water supplies for bacteria since a legionella outbreak at Brisbane's Wesley Hospital in 2013 resulted in the death of a patient.

The hospital was effectively shut down for about a fortnight after the patient died from the lung infection and a second patient contracted it.

Wesley Hospital was cleared of any negligence following an investigation.

In January, a palliative patient at the same hospital tested positive for the disease and the bacteria was also found in an ice machine on the palliative care ward.

Source AAP

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