22/10/22: Legionella Alert – Perth’s Mount Hospital

Legionella alert: Potentially deadly bacteria detected in drinking water at Perth’s Mount Hospital

Oct 22 2022


A potentially deadly bacteria has been detected in drinking water at Perth’s Mount Hospital, reigniting health concerns after a legionella-linked death last year.

The bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease — a severe form of pneumonia — was found in several water outlets at the Mounts Bay Road facility.

The private hospital’s provider Healthscope said the detection had prompted several remedial actions.

“Patients and all those working at Mount have been advised of the situation, and we are taking all appropriate steps to ensure their ongoing safety while remediation works are underway,” a spokesman said.

The contamination forced the metropolitan health campus to reduce the number of beds available as they ensured all affected rooms were vacant.

Affected water outlets are now out of service, and thermal disinfection is being undertaken in all hot water outlets Patients are also being monitored for the disease.

“We have advised the Department of Health of the issue and will keep them informed of our remediation progress,” the Healthscope spokesman said.

HealthScope confirmed the contamination was found after routine testing of the hospital water system.

Australian Medical Association WA president Mark Duncan-Smith told 7NEWS the risk of infection was low.

“To get into the body and into the lungs it needs to be in an aerosol form, such as in a hot shower. Now at the Mount Hospital at the moment the taps aren’t being used, so really that sort of environment can’t occur,” he said.

“The trace amounts of legionella would not be likely to cause significant disease. It could, but again this is testimony to the Mount for monitoring its environment.”

Mount Hospital said treatments were still being performed, but doctors are speaking with patients to see whether procedures can be postponed until the taps are turned back on.

It comes after legionella was detected at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in May and in 2021.

Perth man Guyren Mayne died in October last year at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital after becoming infected with the bacteria, which he picked-up during a stay.

The family of the 57-year-old former soldier claim it took more than four months for authorities to inform them the late Mr Mayne had contracted Legionnaires’ disease from contaminated hospital water before he died.

He passed away at the hospital on October 6, 2021 — but his loved ones say they only learned of the legionella infection in a Zoom meeting with officials in March.

This was despite health bureaucrats first learning of it in Mr Mayne’s post-mortem on October 28.

North Metropolitan Health Service chief executive Tony Dolan, at the time, said the hospital had communicated with Mr Mayne’s family and prioritised “open disclosure”.