APPROPRIATE RESPONSE: RSL Ex-Services Home Ballina.
APPROPRIATE RESPONSE: RSL Ex-Services Home Ballina. Doug Eaton

Legionella found at nursing home

LEGIONELLA bacteria have been detected in water at a Ballina nursing home but it poses no risk to the public.

Maintenance staff at RSL LifeCare's Florence Price Gardens found the bacteria on Friday while conducting routine maintenance and sampling of a warm water unit.

North Coast assistant director of public health Greg Bell said in a sample from one tap, levels of 20 colony-forming units of legionella pneumophilia bacteria were detected.

Mr Bell said there was no risk to staff, residents or visitors to the home of contracting legionnaires disease because of the low levels of the bacteria.

"The levels they found were not an issue to be of public health significance," he said.

Mr Bell said maintenance staff and the general manager of the nursing home had done the right thing and reported the detection.

"There is routine sampling under the Public Health Act that has to take place."

Levels up to 100 colony-forming units of bacteria require maintenance procedures to be followed to ensure the water is safe.

He said staff had followed correct procedures and flushed the warm water system as required by the act.

RSL LifeCare CEO Ron Thompson said the water would be re-tested after precautionary sterilisation and flushing was done.

Legionnaire's disease can't be spread from person to person and is contracted by breathing in contaminated water vapour or dust.

It is infection of the lungs that can cause fever, chills, a cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, headache, tiredness, loss of appetite and diarrhoea.

Some people can become very sick with pneumonia from the disease and other cases can prove fatal.



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