Skip links and keyboard navigation

Queensland Health reports on legionellosis and Legionella

Queensland Health has released two reports as part of its commitment to public transparency relating to legionellosis infections and Legionella in water used by healthcare facilities.

The first report, Legionellosis in Queensland 2016, is an annual report that provides a snapshot of the notified cases of Legionella infections in humans across the state in 2016.

Legionellosis is a collective term to describe Legionella infections in people.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said Legionellosis in Queensland 2016 showed infection numbers had declined for the third year in a row.

"Last year we had 48 notified cases of legionellosis, which is 32 fewer than the notified cases in 2015 and 45 fewer than in 2014. We will continue to monitor and evaluate this trend," Dr Young said.

"The most common Legionella species in Australia were Legionella pneumophila and Legionella longbeachae.

"Legionella pneumophila is largely associated with water whereas Legionella longbeachae is associated with soil, gardening and potting mixes."

"The severity of legionellosis infection varies. People with underlying medical conditions, people with suppressed immune systems, smokers, and those aged over 50 years are most at risk for developing serious disease associated with infection with Legionella."

Dr Young said the report provided clinical and public health staff with the best understanding of who was at risk of legionellosis in Queensland.

The second report details detections of Legionella within water samples collected from public and private hospitals in Queensland for the first two quarters of this year.

"It is likely that Legionella will be detected in facilities’ water samples from time to time as Legionella occurs naturally and is widely distributed in the environment," Dr Young said.

When a facility detects Legionella in the water it uses, it has to implement corrective actions to address any risk to patients and to their water system.

There have been no notified cases of legionellosis (Legionella infections in people) associated with healthcare facilities in the first two quarters of 2017.

For more information visit the Queensland Health website.

Media contact: +61 7 3708 5376

Last updated: 29 September 2017