Hospital leading the way for legionella reporting

11th October 2017 4:04 PM
Toowoomba Hospital Engineering Manager Kevin Tan with a sample of water from tests to check for the Legionella bacteria. Toowoomba Hospital Engineering Manager Kevin Tan with a sample of water from tests to check for the Legionella bacteria. Bev Lacey

WIDE Bay Hospital and Health Service said the recent changes to reporting cases of legionella online aligned with their open and transparent record of water quality management.

WBHHS chief executive officer Adrian Pennington said the service had a well-established water risk management plan that included quarterly water testing not only for legionella strains, but various other bacteria.

"We've had a robust, proven water risk management plan in place for more than 12 months, and our staff welcome online public reporting of legionella testing,” Mr Pennington said.

"As part of our water quality plan, WBHHS has always openly provided information on any significant positive tests or potential public health risks, and disclosed to the community what remedial action was taken.

"We hope state-wide online reporting will highlight the stringent and extensive testing we already undertake, as well as the effectiveness of our response to any issue of concern.”

Wide Bay Public Health Unit physician Dr Margaret Young said WBHHS had a strong track record of extensive water quality testing, with 299 different sites across Wide Bay facilities tested at least twice in the past six months.

Of those, there were 11 samples with low-level positive counts during the first quarter and five during the second quarter. All but two positives were for legionella non-pneumophila, which is not usually associated with legionnaire's disease.

"The positive results were remediated quickly through measures that have proven to be successful, because re-samples were clear of any reportable legionella level,” Dr Young said.

"Remediation measures included heat and chlorine treatment, replacement of taps and pipes, a flush of the water through the system and other measures.”

For more information you can visit the Queensland Health website at http://bit.ly/2xy5oiF.