Board's quick action against Legionella praised

A COMPLETE flushing of the water systems at Hervey Bay Hospital has begun after it was revealed this week that Legionella bacteria had been found in the hospital's water supply.

The water testing was prompted by the death of a patient who tested positive to the bacteria on April 20.

Dominic Devine, chairman of the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Board, pledged to keep the public informed on the progress of the testing.

Mr Devine, who himself contracted Legionnaires' disease six years ago in a commercial office in Brisbane, said the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service response to positive sampling for Legionella bacteria had been in line with best practice in Queensland.

"As somebody who caught Legionnaires' in a commercial office space, I know first- hand about the disease and am personally motivated to ensuring we adopt best practice in our response as a health service," Mr Devine said.

"I can assure residents of the Wide Bay that the risk management undertaken by the WBHHS chief executive Adrian Pennington and his team has been exemplary.

"Our water lines are being flushed and treated today and tomorrow and then there will be further testing at multiple points across the Hervey Bay Hospital.

"We will inform our community of the results when they come to hand."

A regime of sponge baths continues at Hervey Bay Hospital along with a block on the standard use of tap water for invasive procedures, and the provision of bottled water for inpatients.

Queensland Health chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young has endorsed the action taken by WBHHS, pointing to its quick response to the reporting of traces of Legionella bacteria in the hospital.

"The Department of Health is confident that the Hervey Bay Hospital has been proactive in its approach to managing the Legionella situation," Dr Young said.



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