Man dies of legionnaires’ disease at Wesley Hospital

Warm Water systems are back in the news as  a source of legionella causing Legionnaire’s Disease (Brisbane Times 5 June 2013). Water maintained at less than 60 degrees centigrade is defined as a Warm Water system by the NSW Health Department’s Public Health (Microbial Control) Regulation 2000. A Policy Directive of NSW Health sets out the requirements for the provision of warm water systems (PD2005_344).

Warm water systems are designed to reduce the incidence of scalding , especially in hospitals and health care facilities. Unfortunately, reducing the water temperature also increases  conditions more suitable for bacteria such as legionella to grow and infect the water supply. In showers, aerosols are formed which can be inhaled into the lungs. If this water contains legionella bacteria, the lung infection may lead to Legionnaire’s Disease in some susceptible patients.

In order to eliminate the risk of legionella infections in warm water system, treatment of the water supply to prevent the growth of the bacteria must be installed and the microbial quality of the water must be monitored regularly to ensure that the treatment is effective.

Common treatment methods are the use of Ultra Violet Light and Copper/Silver Ionisation Systems.

Environmental Water Monitoring can advise the best treatment options for your Warm Water System.




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