Hospital undergoes rigorous treatment to flush out legionella

QUEENSLAND'S health leaders have called for calm following five hospitals testing positive to legionella bacteria.

The positive test results follow an legionnaires disease outbreak at the Brisbane-based Wesley Hospital.

A 66-year-old man died while another woman was placed in intensive care.

Subsequent testing revealed legionella bacteria in part of the hospital's water system.

The hospital is undergoing a rigorous treatment to flush out the bacteria.

Health Minister Lawrence Sprinborg has since asked all public and private hospitals to test their water supplies.

He said results would be released to the public each Friday but some results have come to light already.

Hospitals on the Gold Coast, in Logan, Ipswich, Brisbane and the Darling Downs have recorded positive results for legionella bacteria.

But there have been no hospital-acquired legionnaires disease cases reported at any of the hospitals.

Queensland acting chief health officer Dr Stephen Lambert said the hospitals returned low levels of legionella in a very small number of samples.

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

Mr Springborg echoed a similar message.

"As I understand it there is five hospitals that have returned a positive result for this particular bacteria," he said.

"There will be more but that is not to say that people need to be unduly alarmed or concerned because it is highly likely that this bacteria has been there forever basically.

"There are levels in which it is not a problem and indeed if you test a lot of household water piping in Queensland you will find the same thing."

The test results will be released every Friday until every public and private hospitals' results have been released.

Mr Springborg said it took about five to seven days to get test results back because of the slow growing nature of the bacteria.

The Wesley Hospital received the all clear following testing for the bacteria in one of its wings last week but is waiting for further results.

The hospital expects to resume full services in next week.



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