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Legionella test shows two positive at Oral Health Centre

THE Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service's routine water quality testing program has confirmed a positive test for legionella bacteria in hot water at the Hervey Bay Oral Health and Cancer Care Centre.

Two isolated positive results have been confirmed at hot water outlets in hand basins, but cold water has been cleared by current testing and all sterile water used for clinical purposes including all dental procedures is treated and unaffected.

While there is no impact on clinical services, patients attending the centre today are being informed on arrival about the positive test and the water quality procedures that have been put in place as a precautionary measure.

WBHHS chief operating officer Debbie Carroll said patients, visitors and staff were not at significant risk of infection.

"The Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service is now in the process of notifying patients face- to-face, but I wish to emphasise the minimal risk to patients, visitors and staff," she said.

"We are now undertaking precautionary measures to ensure the safety of patients, visitors and staff.

"A thorough heat treatment and flushing of water outlets throughout the facility has taken place overnight. 

"Further precautionary measures include preventing patients using showers in the building and closing access to locations where the positive tests occurred."

Follow-up tests are to take place in a week.

WBHHS Public Health Director Dr Margaret Young said Legionella bacteria are found in the natural environment.

"Measures have been put in place to ensure patient safety, particularly for the cancer care patients," Dr Young said.

In 2015 there were 37 cases of Legionnaire's disease in Queensland. 

Transmission is through inhalation of contaminated droplets during activities such as showering.

Person-to-person transmission does not occur.

The incubation period for Legionnaires' disease is typically five to six days, but can be up to 10 days.

Topics:  health hervey bay hospital legionella test



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