Legionella scare in Sunshine Coast Private Hospital

WATER from a tap in the critical care unit at Sunshine Coast Private Hospital has tested positive for the potentially deadly legionella bacteria.

Hot water systems in 77 public and private hospitals were tested earlier this month.

The results were released yesterday.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg ordered the tests after 66-year-old cancer patient John Pearson died after contracting legionnaire's disease during a stay at the Wesley Hospital.

Sunshine Coast Private Hospital general manager Terence Seymour said a low volume of a type of legionella bacteria was present in the tap at the time of the test.

"The positive test result came from the initial flush of the tap and was not found following a second flush of the tap," Mr Seymour said. "It was not a tap patients could access."

Queensland Health acting chief health officer Stephen Lambert said the detection of the bacteria did not give cause for concern.

"Of more than 1300 tests (throughout the state), only 10% have returned a positive result, and only 4% indicated the presence of legionella pneumophilia," Mr Lambert said.

Mr Seymour said the private hospital's water system was flushed with hot water and disinfected.

"A re-test of the outlet was undertaken and tested negative," he said.

"The hospital took the matter seriously and notified doctors and patients concerned. All patients opted to remain in the ward."

More than 300 hospitals are yet to be tested.


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