Legionella infects Cunnamulla hospital
ROUTINE testing on 30 June has discovered the presence of Legionella bacteria at the Cunnamulla hospital.
South West Hospital and Health Service Chief Operations Officer Meryl Brumpton said immediate action had been taken today to isolate the affected areas and ensure patients were not in contact with them.
“We will be hyper-chlorinating the water system and replacing the affected tap ware, comprising two showerheads and three taps, according to standard protocols for removing the Legionella bacteria,’’ she said.
“Once the water system had been cleansed and tapware replaced, the affected areas will be retested.
“Clinical services at Cunnamulla Hospital have not been affected in any way and there is no risk to any patients or staff. Inpatients will have access to areas that have not been impacted and they will be able to continue using these.’’
Legionella is the virus responsible for Legionnaires' disease, which is potentially deadly. The bacteria can be treated with antibiotics. Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, drowsiness and muscle pain.
Ms Brumpton said Legionella bacteria were commonly found in the environment.
“The risks for staff, patients and visitors are low as the Legionella bacteria must be inhaled in the form of water droplets to have any chance of being infectious,’’ she said.
“Secondly, it is generally only those that are particularly vulnerable, sick or immunecompromised who are susceptible to infection.’’
Ms Brumpton said the Legionella was detected during routine water quality testing procedures undertaken at the facility.
“As part of our Water Quality Risk Management Plan, we routinely and regularly test all our facilities,’’ she said
Ms Brumpton said the testing at Cunnamulla Hospital had been done on 30 June, with the results returned to the health service late on 7 July.