BACTERIA DETECTED: Bacteria has been found in the water at hospitals in the Burnett region.
BACTERIA DETECTED: Bacteria has been found in the water at hospitals in the Burnett region. Graham Broadhead

Deadly bacteria found at regional hospitals

KINGAROY'S Lady Bjelke-Petersen Community Hospital has been revealed as the worst in the Burnett region for legionella detection.

Queensland Health quarterly report data revealed legionella bacteria was detected 35 times in the health facility this year, the highest number across the Burnett region's 11 hospitals.

 

Twenty-two water samples were taken at the Lady Bjelke-Petersen hospital between April 1 and June 30, the second quarter of 2018, and legionella bacteria was detected in every sample.

From February 1, 2017, it became a requirement for water systems used in healthcare facilities in Queensland to be monitored for the presence of legionella, and when legionella is detected, actions must be taken to prevent any potential risk of exposure.

Legionella associated with water sources can cause a serious infection known as legionnaire's disease. 

A 60-year-old man died after contracting the disease from a shower at Brisbane's Wesley Hospital in 2013.

The bacteria was again found at Wesley Hospital in 2016 when a patient and an ice machine tested positive for the bacteria.

The ABC reported that Queensland Health did not say whether anybody had been placed at risk by being in close proximity to areas near where legionella was detected in the Burnett.

The bacteria has been detected in water at 170 facilities across the state and 47 cases of the disease have been reported in 2018.

None of the cases were hospital related.

Legionella bacteria was detected 13 times at Wondai Hospital, between January 1 and March 31, the first quarter of the year, and twice in the second quarter of the year - the second-highest number of cases in the Burnett region.

It was also detected seven times at Cherbourg Hospital this year, six times in Gayndah, five times in Murgon and three times at Kingaroy Hospital.

Monto and Biggenden hospitals both had one case of legionella detection this year.

There were no cases reported at Nanango, Mundubbera or Eidsvold hospitals.

Outside the region, the bacteria was detected six times at Bundaberg Hospital, 10 times at Dalby Hospital, seven times at Toowomba Hospital and 133 times from 1212 samples at Ipswich Hospital from January to June 2018.

According to Queensland Health, the likelihood that a healthy person who is exposed to legionella will develop illness is very low, although this risk increases for vulnerable people in healthcare facilities.

In Queensland, each healthcare facility must have a water risk management plan that considers water-related risks, implements appropriate corrective actions and then verifies that legionella in water used by the facility is being controlled via collection and analysis of samples from the water system.

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