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Results of quarterly reports

Why sample water for Legionella?

Legionella are widely distributed in the environment in natural sources such as lakes, rivers and streams and other habitats such as soils and mud. There are over 50 species of Legionella, some of which can cause disease in humans. Legionella from natural water sources can enter and colonise drinking water systems.

Legionella associated with water sources, Legionella pneumophila, can cause a serious infection known as Legionnaires disease. The likelihood that a healthy person who is exposed to Legionella will develop illness is very low, although this risk increases for certain vulnerable people in healthcare facilities.

One way of managing the possible exposure for vulnerable people in healthcare facilities is to be aware of where they may be exposed, and to prevent this. From 1 February 2017 water systems used in healthcare facilities in Queensland must be monitored for the presence of Legionella and, when Legionella is detected, actions must be taken to prevent any potential risk of exposure to vulnerable people. It is important to remember that the presence of Legionella in water does not mean that an infection will result from exposure but rather indicates that there is the potential for exposure which should be managed.

Under the regulatory framework in Queensland each healthcare facility must have a water risk management plan that considers water related risks, implements appropriate corrective actions and then verifies that Legionella in water used by the facility is being controlled via collection and analysis of samples from the water system. Water risk management plans, and associated corrective actions, can be expected to differ between facilities as each facility has its own circumstances to be considered.

What happens when Legionella is detected?

A water risk management plan must outline the corrective actions required to be undertaken in response to a detection of Legionella in a water sample. When Legionella is detected in a water sample, the facility should implement a corrective action. The corrective action/s should include actions to manage inpatient exposure as well as actions for the water infrastructure system. Refer to managing water related hazards for additional information on commonly used remediation activities.

Results of sampling

Search the table below to view the total number of water samples collected and total number of Legionella detections reported for each facility for the periods:

  • 1 July 2019 to 30 September 2019 (2019 Q3)
  • 1 October 2018 to 31 December 2019 (2019 Q4)
  • 1 January 2019 to 31 March 2020 (2020 Q1)
  • 1 April 2019 to 30 June 2020 (2020 Q2)

Data on previous quarters can be viewed at Queensland Government Open Data Portal

Queries regarding the data presented in this table should be directed to the relevant facility.

In the table below, NA means that a facility was not required to submit a report, while "-" means that a report had not been received at the time of publication.

Facility name Reporting period Total water samples collected Legionella detections reported
Last updated: 6 January 2021