Health CEO says no concern over legionella finds

UPDATE: DARLING Downs Hospital and Health Service CEO Dr Peter Bristow has played down concerns of a wide-spread legionnaires outbreak at public health facilities across the region.

The Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service announced low levels of legionella bacteria had been detected in 11 hospitals and one outpatients facility under its control.

The hospitals which returned positive test results to a strain of the legionella bacteria include Toowoomba, Inglewood, Goondiwindi, Dalby, Baillie Henderson, Miles, Wondai, Cherbourg, Oakey and Chinchilla.

The Meandarra Outpatients Clinic also returned positive tests.

Facilities that have been given the all clear include Mt Lofty Heights Nursing Home, Texas, Tara, Nanango, Jandowae hospitals and Moonie Outpatients Clinic.

Test results for Warwick, Kingaroy, Stanthorpe hospitals as well as Glenmorgan Outpatients Clinic are yet to come back.

Dr Bristow said the positive tests were on the very low end of the spectrum.

"The DDHHS has taken 350 monitoring samples of our hot and cold water systems across our 21 facilities and four outpatient services," Dr Bristow said.

"We undertook this testing as instructed by the Chief Health Officer.

"Some tests have come back positive," he said.

Dr Bristow said after discussions with the Chief Health Officer yesterday they concluded the positive results posed little risk to patients or the community.

"In accordance with the guidelines, we are in the process of disinfecting the areas where there has been a positive result by flushing it with high temperature water," he said.

"We are also attending to tap fixtures and fittings in those affected areas by either disinfecting them or replacing them."

Dr Bristow said specific testing for the legionella pneumophilia bacteria had been undertaken in health facilities state-wide.

"That strain is the one that is of most concern to humans," he said.

"We are taking measures to reduce the very low risk to patients even further.

"Over the past 10 years the Chief Health Officer has advised me there has been no hospital associated legionnaires case in the public health system.

"I can not emphasise enough this is very low-risk."

The state-wide testing of all hospitals in the public health system was ordered after a man was killed by the deadly Legionnaires ' disease at the Wesley hospital in Brisbane earlier this month.

The Wesley hospital is a private operated facility.

The test results for all Queensland facilities in the public health system will be available on Friday.

Toowoomba Hospital engineering manager Kevin Tan checking for legionella bacteria.
Toowoomba Hospital engineering manager Kevin Tan checking for legionella bacteria.

MONDAY 4PM: Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service CEO Dr Peter Bristow has played down legionella concerns despite 11 facilities in the region testing positive to a strain of the bacteria.

The following health facilities have returned positive results:

  • Toowoomba hospital
  • Goondiwindi hospital
  • Inglewood hospital
  • Baillie Henderson hospital
  • Dalby hospital
  • Miles hospital
  • Wondai hospital
  • Oakey hospital
  • Cherbourg hospital
  • Chinchilla hospital
  • Meandarra outpatients facility

MONDAY 2PM: Low levels of legionella bacteria have been detected in several hospitals in the Darling Downs health service district, according to a Queensland Health statement released today.

Acting chief health officer Dr Stephen Lambert said in the statement that 'low levels' of legionella had been reported in tests on hospitals in the Metro South, Gold Coast, West Moreton and Darling Downs health service districts.

Treatments, including disinfecting or flushing of affected sites, are either planned, underway or complete where infections have been detected.

Legionella test results will be released this Friday unless a hospital-acquired case is reported or a risk to public safety is detected, Queensland Health announced today.

"We should not be speculating on interim low-level positive results until we know the full and final picture for each facility," Dr Lambert said.

"Final results and treatment plans for any hospital which has returned a positive reading to date will be publicly available in our first weekly report on Friday."

Dr Lambert has called for calm and patience as tests on 300 hospitals statewide are completed, analysed and collated.

Has Queensland Health's reaction to the legionella outbreak been satisfactory?

This poll ended on 24 July 2013.

Current Results

Yes

32%

No

67%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

MONDAY 11AM: Results from legionella water testing at the Toowoomba Hospital should be available in coming days.

Low levels of legionella bacteria were found at four Queensland hospitals at the weekend.

It comes after one patient died and another became critically ill at Brisbane's Wesley hospital earlier this month.

The latest discoveries were made at QE2, Logan, Gold Coast and Ipswich hospitals.

On June 8, Toowoomba's three hospitals downplayed concerns over legionella bacteria, saying they conducted regular testing.

Minister for Health Lawrence Springborg ordered hospitals to begin sampling their water systems on June 7.

"If positive samples are returned, it is imperative that timely and appropriate treatment of the affected water supply is implemented. This will ensure the safety of patients is protected."



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