Staff gain clean bill of health after Legionella scare

WIDE Bay Hospital and Health Service has quelled rumours of employees having contracted Legionella as the investigation continues into the outbreak now cleared.

A WBHHS spokesman said there were no records of any of the staff, past or present, ever having contracted Legionella or been diagnosed with legionnaire's disease.

"Both Legionella pneumophilia and Legionella longbeachae are notifiable diseases that all health facilities must report," he said.

"There were no cases acquired in any WBHHS facility."

The Legionella outbreak at the hospital was cleared on June 5, 17 days after the outbreak was confirmed on May 19.

Chief executive Adrian Pennington said that the presence of Legionella was detected in the warm water system at the hospital and that the "exact sequence of events leading up to the detection of Legionella...cannot be fully determined".

Australian standards specify that hot water must be stored at 60 degrees Celsius, a temperature able to kill off Legionella.

Testing for pathogens in hot water systems is not required and the Master Plumbers' Association of Queensland has made calls for testing to be mandatory.

Hospitals are required to temper water to 45 degrees Celsius at sanitary fixtures to prevent scalding and bacteria growth at this temperature is managed through proper operation and maintenance of heated water systems.

Since the outbreak, upgrades had been made including to the hospital's hot water and chlorine monitoring systems, Mr Pennington said.


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