Ipswich hospitals free of deadly bacteria

IPSWICH hospitals have found no trace of the deadly legionnaires disease, which caused the death of a 60-year-old man at Brisbane's Wesley Hospital this week.

The man contracted the disease through the hot-water system, but legionnaires disease has also been known to develop in air-conditioning systems.

No patients have presented at Ipswich Hospital and St Andrew's Private Hospital with legionnaires-disease symptoms, and both facilities have tested air-conditioning systems and water systems in the past three months.

Queensland's chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young called for an update from all public hospitals on legionnaires disease to be provided by next Thursday.

West Moreton health service chief executive officer Lesley Dwyer said monitoring of hot-water systems would be increased after the incident at Wesley Hospital.

"We monitor our hot-water, cooling towers and air-conditioning systems to ensure they meet standards and are safe for patients and staff," she said.

"Our cooling towers are tested monthly by an approved service provider for Legionella.

"The last test was carried out in May 2013 and was clear.

"We also carry out four total tower cleans a year."

St Andrew's CEO Chris Went said all air-conditioning units were tested monthly and the hot water system was tested in March.

"We have no evidence there is any Legionella present in our air-conditioning or hot water from any of these tests carried out," she said.

Ms Dwyer said the Ipswich Hospital hot water systems heated water to the recommended standard of 60 to 70 degrees and temperatures were monitored daily.

Legionnaires Facts

  • Legionnaires disease can not spread between people
  • It is contracted breathing in the Legionella bacteria in very fine water droplets
  • Symptoms can be flu-like, followed by serious respiratory conditions such as pneumonia

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