11th May 2002
Three cases of legionella have been reported in the area of Moonee Pond, Melbourne, More cases can be expected, all cases are male.
The health minister stated that there has been less cases of legionella in Victoria because of the required registration and the toughest guidelines in Australia this year
My comment is %%^^&&**, and I believe in fairies, ghosts witches, and the Australian way
There was an outbreak of Legionnaires` disease in Moonee Pond in 1998
See Outbreaks 1998 at
MELBOURNE HITS THE NEWS AGAIN.
MELBOURNE DOES IT AGAIN
MELBOURNE ....OH MY.. DOES IT AGAIN
ALFRED HOSPITAL STORY
APRIL TO JUNE 2001
LEGIONNAIRES DISEASE STRIKES MELBOURNE AGAIN
19th OCTOBER 2001
WILL THERE EVER BE AN END TO LEGIONELLA IN VICTORIA
Even more Legionnaires` Disease
Wednesday, 17 April 2002
CASES OF LEGIONNAIRES' DISEASE INVESTIGATED
Three cases of Legionnaires' disease are being investigated with a possible link to the city center, Victoria's acting Chief Health Officer, Dr John Carnie said today.
"Three men aged 29, 58 and 85 have contracted the illness after all made visits to the city late last month.
Two of the men have been discharged from hospital and the third is still receiving treatment," Dr Carnie said.
"The area of concern appears to be centred on the corner of Collins and Swanston Streets," Dr Carnie said.
"We are checking the treatment records of cooling tower systems on around 31 sites in this area. As a precautionary measure these systems will be disinfected if the records show they have not been treated recently.
So far this year there have been 27 cases of Legionnaires' disease notified to the Department. In the first three months of last year there were 49 cases and 46 cases in 2000.
The way to dress when in Melbourne
Friday, 19 April 2002
NEW CASE OF LEGIONNAIRES' DISEASE NOTIFIED
A fourth man has been diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease and may be
linked to a cluster of cases in the centre of Melbourne, Victoria's acting Chief
Health Officer, Dr John Carnie said today.
"Because the incubation period of the disease is between two and 10 days
this additional case is not unexpected," Dr Carnie said.
"The fourth case is a 51-year-old man who is recovering in hospital. He has
asked that no further personal details be released.
"Despite this case there is no reason for people not to attend events in the city or go about their normal business," Dr Carnie said.
City workers or visitors with persistent flu-like symptoms in the past three
to four weeks should seek medical attention.
MARCH TO APRIL 2000
Aquarium head warns business
The owner of the Melbourne Aquarium yesterday urged businesses to help themselves prevent legionnaires' disease as he revealed trading losses of more than $3 million.
In his only interview since the outbreak, Peter O'Brien expressed
dissatisfaction with proposed reforms to government cooling tower maintenance
guidelines, which do not include mandatory
testing for legionella.
"I'm not happy with what's been announced to date," he said. "For
the business community, building owners and tenants, it's a bit too serious
to leave in the hands of warring parties,
consultants and public servants. We have to get involved ourselves."
Despite having followed State Government guidelines and hiring reputable businesses to design, install and maintain its system, the aquarium was still hit by the outbreak, he said.
Mr O'Brien said the government's interest in and regulations for cooling towers did not compare with that taken when issuing liquor licenses or permission to own poker machines.
He said that, in the opinion of one expert hired by the aquarium, the outbreak might have been prevented by using two types of chemical biocide instead of one.
"We still don't know whether or not the (cooling) system was kosher. We may never know," he said.
Mr O'Brien is the managing director of Oceanis Australia, which owns the Melbourne Aquarium and others interstate and overseas.
He is also the deputy chairman of the Tourism Council of Australia and the Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He advocates the use of air-based cooling systems - which, unlike water-based systems, are not vulnerable to legionella - where possible.
For water-based systems, he favours "common sense" compulsory registration of cooling towers, legionella testing and use of two biocides.
Mr O'Brien praised the Department of Human Services for speedy detective work that reduced the possible loss of life. Of 113 people who were infected, two died.
Health Minister John Thwaites said late last month that an expert working party had recommended registration of cooling towers but not mandatory testing for legionella because that could give the community a "false sense of security". The recommendations are due to be released within three weeks.
Mr O'Brien said the aquarium had recorded a $3 million loss due to
the outbreak. Insurers had paid a substantial part of this, but not the
$500,000 air-conditioning system replacement bill or any
costs associated with litigation by legionnaires' victims.
The AGE 7th July 2000
Government inquiries into a single Royal Commission
into the threat that continues to plaque Victoria
According to the institution’s Executive Director, Mr Tony Cutcliffe, the minister’s proposed measures announced last week are to fragmented to quell industry and community concern after the Melbourne Aquarium breakout
“This Legionella threat requires an inquiry which goes well beyond the Aquarium epidemic” says Mr Cutcliffe.
are surrounded by opportunities for Legionella bacterium to spark another
outbreak and the government must drive a single co-ordinated initiative
to contain the threat, Mr Cutcliffe said
The Health Minister has to date ignored the need for compulsory qualification and registration of water treatment specialists, and he has ignored the need for retrospective standards to be introduced for cooling towers installed before 1990” said Mr Cutcliffe
The Melbourne Aquarium has more than 30 cooling towers located on buildings which stand behind it. There are more than 300 similar towers in the CBD. There is a potential to spark another outbreak.
Industry sources say that as few as 10% of these installations comply with the building code of Australia. These towers have the potential to spew Legionella bacterium over pedestrians, traffic, On users of rooftop car parks, and people using the parks and gardens, said Mr Cutcliffe.
An industry Legionella conference held in Melbourne last week voted overwhelmingly for a Royal Commission to be held. The meeting included health specialists, engineers, water treatment specialists, legal experts and industry specialists.
is a clear sign that the whole industry has thrown up its hands, and is
deeply and openly concerned by the fragmented and presently ineffective
approach to preventing Legionella deaths
Whilst pleased that the Government has begun to respond, we are concerned that
disconnected inquires are not good enough
There can be no clearer signal that lives are at risk, and that a Royal Commission is the best vehicle to avoid the lose of further lives
The industry meeting heard that 113 cases of Legionnaires disease were attributed to the Melbourne Aquarium Outbreak and up to 10 Victorians die from Legionella related causes each year. According to Mr Cutcliffe, the Legionella risk is not isolated to cooling towers.
Victorian hot water services operated on lower temperatures are also recognized in the Australian Standards as required monitoring.
visiting Dr. John Kurtz also reported a Legionella outbreak from a mist
sprays used to refresh delicatessens products, Mr Cutcliffe said
Mr Cutcliffe is concerned that existing regulations which entitles the Departmentof Human Services to inspect cooling towers, and which requires building owners and managers to recordcooling tower service levels have been ignored.
The Royal Commission should examine the level of inspections which have been carried out by the Department of human Services, and report on the level of compliance found to exist.
Apart from official reactions to outbreaks, I cannot recall a single occasion where a building owner or manager has been prosecuted on account of cooling tower mismanagement.
Mr Cutcliffe says a Royal Commission should examine reasons why cooling towers should not be outlawed altogether, In the meantime, building designers, engineers, and air-conditioning specialists should declare their understanding of the risks involved in installing cooling towers.
We reject any assertion that a royal commission would be too expensive--What price do we place on human life? Said Mr Cutcliffe
further inquires contact
The Institution of Engineers, Australia
FIRMS LAX ON LEGIONNAIRES¹
July 18, 2000
One in five buildings with cooling towers in a Melbourne
municipality, according to a study cited in this story, fail to meet existing
standards for legionnaires¹ disease prevention.
And, the story adds, four in five have no legionnaires¹ disease risk
management plan - a key requirement of regulations to be introduced by the
The study of 164 cooling towers at 57 premises in the City of Hobsons Bay, which includes the Altona chemical complex, also identified:
A shopping complex with a cooling tower that exhausts into a confined space in a car park next to a bench where smokers, a high-risk group for legionnaires¹, are encouraged to sit.
A cooling tower that is not accessible for cleaning because a decorative cage is built around it.
A business with three cooling towers not fitted with drift eliminators that help stop spray from the towers and is close to another business with known Legionella problems, which is not disinfected regularly.
The study revealed that draft regulations prepared by the Kennett government included mandatory testing for Legionella - a measure controversially rejected by the Bracks Government.
It also found that one in four businesses tested for Legionella, despite there being no requirement to do so.
Funded by the Department of Human Services, the study was examined by a departmental working party that released a report last week.
The working party said in its report that there were regular examples of towers maintained in accordance with the existing guidelines that were found to be carrying Legionella.
|The Aquarium Cooling Towers||The Aquarium Cooling Towers|
story really must go back to the begin of 1998, Since that time Melbourne
has had rather a large amount of cases of this disease.
The history of Victoria`s outbreaks are
Cases 2 Deaths
1980... 5 Cases No Deaths
1996... 2 Cases No Deaths
1994....3 Cases 1 Death****
1998....5 Cases 1 Death
1998....17 Cases No Deaths
1999... 2 Cases No Deaths
1999....2 Cases 1 Death
2000... 113 Cases 2 Deaths
1999...64 5 Deaths
May 19, 2000.
101 CASES OF LEGIONNAIRES' DISEASE
The number of people confirmed with Legionnaires' Disease from an outbreak linked to the Melbourne Aquarium is now 101.
The head of Disease Control at the Human Services Department, Professor William Hart, said 15 people remained in hospital, 3 of them in a critical condition.
All the confirmed people, including the two women who died, are aged from 23 to 89. All contracted their illness between April 11 and 25.
Hart said only one person from a cluster of six cases at Cobram remains
in hospital and is in a satisfactory condition.
Source DHS Victoria Australia
This outbreak is now in line with the Stafford Hospital England in 1985 as the second largest outbreak in the world for Legionella
Stafford Outbreak...101 cases 28 Deaths
world never learns
18th. May 2000
An elderly Melbourne man last night became the fourth person to die from legionnaires' disease, which he is believed to have contracted by walking past the Melbourne Aquarium last month.
The 73-year-old man had been in Frankston Hospital for three weeks prior to his death, after being admitted with flu-like symptoms.
The man had not visited the aquarium, which has been confirmed as the source of the outbreak, he had walked past the building at a time when legionella bacteria were present in the water-cooled towers.
77-year-old Richmond man who died from the disease last week has also been
linked with the aquarium. A spokesman for the Department of Human Services,
Bram Alexander, said today that the man had been in the area of the aquarium last month when he visited the casino, even though he did not enter the building.
So far 99 people have contracted the disease, including three visitors from New Zealand and two from the United Kingdom.
In an effort to eliminate any further outbreaks of the disease, the Melbourne Aquarium yesterday announced that the water-cooled towers are to be replaced with a new $400,000 air-cooled system.
Aquarium spokesman Tom Smith said that a temporary air system will be installed today, external to the building and in the vicinity of William Street. The water-cooled towers will be permanently shut down.
The permanent air-cooled units, coming from Europe, should be installed within 10 to 14 weeks.
ONCE AGAIN PANIC SETS IN, THE AQUARIUM GOING TO REPLACE ITS COOLING TOWERS TO MAKE IT THE SAFEST PLACE IN MELBOURNE TO VISIT , PLEASE COME AND VISIT US WE HAVE NO PROBLEMS ANYMORE
JUST THINK THERE IS ANOTHER 300 COOLING TOWERS YOU HAVE TO PASS TO GET TO THE AQUARIUM, LEGIONELLA HAS BEEN KNOWN TO TRAVEL OVER TWO MILES AND STILL INFECT PEOPLE.
THE RATE MELBOURNE'S GOING FOR LEGIONELLA WHERE`S SAFE
OF SOLVING THE PROBLEM ITS BEEN BURIED HOW MANY MORE PEOPLE WILL GET INFECTED
OR DIE IN MELBOURNE BECAUSE THE EASY WAY WAS TAKEN BY THE AQUARIUM.
MELBOURNE HAS A PROBLEM LET EVERYONE WORK TOGETHER TO SOLVE IT.
VISIT WESTERN AUSTRALIA WE HAVE UNDERSEA WORLD AND ONLY ONE OUTBREAK BACK IN 1996 DOWN SOUTH IN A MEAT FACTORY IN A HOT WATER SYSTEM.
THE PEOPLE OF MELBOURNE AND VISITORS TO THIS FINE CITY NEED TO BE REASSURED THAT IT IS A SAFE PLACE TO BE, THE BUCK HAS BEEN PASSED.
MAY THE HEAVENS BE GOOD TO YOU MELBOURNE BECAUSE YOUR LEGIONELLA WONT
ARE MY OPINIONS MY RIGHT TO HAVE THEM AND SAY THEM
DENIS GREEN 18TH MAY 2000
May 17, 2000.
99 CASES OF LEGIONNAIRES' DISEASE
The number of people confirmed with Legionnaires' Disease from an outbreak linked to the Melbourne Aquarium is now 99.
The head of Disease Control at the Human Services Department, Professor William Hart, said 15 people remained in hospital, 5 of them in a critical condition.
All the confirmed people, including the two women who died, are aged from 23 to 89. All contracted their illness between April 11 and 25.
Professor Hart said the number of cases associated with a cluster at Cobram has now risen to six. The latest case is an 87-year-old man who is in a satisfactory condition in the Cobram Hospital.
Three other people associated with this cluster remain in Cobram Hospital in a satisfactory condition. The other two have been discharged.
The Department is still waiting for legionella test results from samples taken from 28 cooling towers at six locations in Cobram last week.
Source DHS Victorian Human Services
**** H&CS INVESTIGATING ****
Thursday, 31st. March, 1994
INVESTIGATING LEGIONNAIRES' CASES
The Health and Community Services (H&CS) Department is investigating a recent outbreak of legionnaires' disease at Royal Melbourne Hospital.
H&CS Chief Health Officer, Dr Graham Rouch, said there had been four cases of legionnaires' disease at the Royal Melbourne in the past three weeks -one patient died early this month.
"At least one patient acquired the case in hospital. H&CS is also investigating the possibility that the infection in another patient was hospital acquired," he said.
Legionnaires' disease can result from inhaling aerosols (tiny water droplets) containing legionella bacteria.
The disease, which can be spread from air-conditioning cooling towers, affects the lungs and kidneys and, in about 25 per cent of cases, causes death. Victoria had 38 cases of legionnaires' disease last year. So far this year there have been 10 cases of legionnaires disease in Victoria - compared with 15 for the same time last year.
testing found that three cooling towers on the hospital grounds were positive
to legionella. Those towers were immediately cleaned and disinfected,"
Dr Rouch said.
"However it has not been established that those towers have been the cause of infection. As a precaution, all of the hospital's other cooling towers have been disinfected with a chlorine compound and samples have been taken to test for legionella. Results of those tests won't be known until after Easter."
Dr Rouch said isolates from the patients and cooling towers were being compared by "fingerprinting" to determine the possible source of the infection. Results will not be available until next week.
H&CS is also investigating other potential legionella sources, including water from showers, wash-hand basins and cooling towers in nearby buildings.
Dr Rouch said H&CS had written to all hospitals, reminding them that this is the peak period for legionnaires' disease and requesting that they review maintenance procedures.
"Legionnaires' infection can occur in any building with air-conditioning, not just hospitals," Dr Rouch said. "H&CS has comprehensive guidelines for the maintenance of cooling towers. Adherence to those guidelines minimizes the risk of the bacteria breeding."
Legionnaires' cluster traced back to meat company (21/7/98)
July 21, 1998.
LEGIONNAIRES' CLUSTER TRACED BACK TO MEAT COMPANY
Laboratory testing has
indicated that the cluster of Legionnaires' Disease cases at Moonee Ponds
over the past month was most likely linked to a meat company's cooling
tower, Victoria's Chief Health Officer, Dr Graham Rouch said today.
Dr Rouch said detailed DNA testing of samples taken from two of the initial three people who contracted the illness matched the legionella type found in an air conditioning cooling tower at Case ready Meats, in Young St. Moonee Ponds.
The tests, by the Microbiological Diagnostic Unit of Melbourne University, showed the legionella bacteria contaminating the Australian Taxation Office cooling tower in Moonee Ponds was of a different sub-type.
An elderly woman died
and four other people were hospitalized after contracting Legionnaires'
Disease in late June or early July.
The tests showed that the illness of one of the initial three people was not linked to the Moonee Ponds cluster.
Dr Rouch said early diagnosis and treatment of the final two people meant that no bacterial cultures were available for testing, and so a direct link to the source of infection was unlikely.
Positive results for legionella were obtained from cooling towers at both Caseready Meats and the ATO on July 8, and both towers were immediately closed down and disinfected.
Dr Rouch said follow-up tests on the two towers, and on eight air conditioning cooling towers at other buildings around the Moonee Ponds shopping centre, showed up clear for the legionella pneumophila sero-group 1 bacteria.
He said the Human Services Department has given written recommendations to Caseready Meats and the ATO on further treatment and works on their cooling towers to reduce the chance of them becoming reinfected.
Dr Rouch said the 10-day incubation period for Legionnaires' Disease after the July 9 disinfecting of the two towers had now passed, and so he did not expect any further cases to come to light from the Moonee Ponds source.
24 December, 1998
SOURCE OF LEGIONELLA OUTBREAK
A cooling tower at a cold-storage business has been identified as a possible source of the Thomastown legionella outbreak in October, Victoria's Chief Health Officer, Dr Graham Rouch, said today.
After extensive and exhaustive testing of numerous cooling towers, three towers in the area had tested positive for the legionella pneumophila sero-group 1 bacteria.
"One tower matched the samples taken from people who contracted the illness; a second tower cannot be eliminated as a possible source because the test results were inconclusive; and the third was a different sub-type of legionella which did not match the human samples," Dr Rouch said.
Dr Rouch said detailed DNA testing of samples taken from eight of the 17 people who contracted the illness matched the legionella type found in an air conditioning cooling tower at Kats Refrigeration, a cold-storage business in Norwich Avenue, Thomastown.
The second premises that tested positive for the legionella bacteria is operated by La Ionica, a chicken processing company in Lipton Drive, Thomastown.
"Whilst attempting to cross-match the human samples to La Ionica samples proved inconclusive, this tower cannot be excluded as a possible source.
The tests, by the Microbiological Diagnostic Unit of Melbourne University, showed the legionella bacteria contaminating the third cooling tower was of a different sub-type.
Dr Rouch said bacterial cultures were able to be grown in the laboratory from only eight of the 17 people diagnosed as having the illness.
All 17 people who contracted
legionella from the Thomastown outbreak have been notified of the test
"The majority had complied
or attempted to comply with the regulations governing cooling towers. However,
the Department of Human Services is considering possible action where the
regulations may have been breached. "All businesses will be re-visited
again in the new year to ensure that they are in full compliance," Dr Rouch
All cooling towers in the area are now safe after being treated with effective biocides and those found to be positive successfully decontaminated.
The legionella bacteria occurs naturally in the environment, mainly in water and soil. It is normally in very low concentrations but can increase markedly, particularly in man-made aquatic environments with warm reticulating water, such as air conditioning cooling towers.
Infection is acquired through breathing in very fine droplets of water which contain the bacteria, such as spray drifts which are vented off from cooling towers into the atmosphere.
There are about 20 to 40 cases per year in Victoria, and 200 cases nationally. There have been 58 cases in Victoria so far this year, resulting in seven deaths.
Melbourne, Victoria January 1999
The staff at a Melbourne hospital are baffled after a middle-aged man contracted Legionnaires' disease while in their care. The man was admitted to In-patient Service on 22nd. December 1998.
10 days later, he was rushed to intensive care with symptoms of Legionnaires` Disease
of the hospital's cooling towers on 23 December returned negative results.
"While he was getting the disease, tests done on the hospital's towers
were negative and the mental health unit doesn't have a tower, that's why
we wonder how he got it," said the head of the hospital’s Infectious Diseases
Service. We accept he acquired the infection in the environs of the hospital
but exactly where is uncertain. On discovering the man's illness, the hospital
re-tested its towers in lateDecember and found positive counts in several
The man is understood to be recovering in intensive care.
Source.... Herald Sun, 7 Jan 1999.
January 28, 1999.
LEGIONNAIRES DISEASE LINK TO NORTH COBURG
Two cases of Legionnaire's Disease earlier this month have been linked back to a North Coburg factory, Victoria's Chief Health Officer, Dr Graham Rouch said today.
Dr Rouch said the two cases - a woman, 59, who lives in the area, and a man, 53, who works at the factory - were now recovering from the illness.
The cases were linked
to the Southcorp Packaging plant in Charles St. after water samples from
cooling towers at the factory tested positive to the legionella bacteria.
Further tests will be carried out on the samples to establish if that strain
caused the illnesses.
The factory staff member fell ill on January 10 and was treated by his doctor for pneumonia. He has now recovered.
Dr Rouch said the staff
member was tested for Legionnaire's Disease and returned a positive finding
after Human Services
Department staff asked Southcorp to check the illness records of staff who had recently been absent.
February 7, 2000.
FOUR CASES OF LEGIONNAIRE'S DISEASE
Health authorities are checking on four separate cases of Legionnaire's Disease around Melbourne to see if any of them are related.
Victoria's Chief Health Officer, Dr Graham Rouch, said two of the cases were from Thomastown and the other two had links to Fitzroy. Three of the four - all men - are recovering in hospital. The other man has been treated and discharged.
Dr Rouch said the early stages of Legionnaire's Disease had flu-like symptoms, and urged people concerned about such symptoms to see their doctor.
In a precautionary move, the Human Services Department has advised the owners of cooling towers on 16 buildings in a Thomastown industrial estate to clean and disinfect their towers as soon as possible.
The estate was linked to a cluster of Legionnaire's Disease cases in October 1998, but Dr Rouch said there was no evidence of a link with the two Thomastown cases at this stage.
A man, 60, admitted to the Northern Hospital on January 27, was treated and discharged on February 4. A man, 63, was admitted to the Northern Hospital on February 2 and is recovering.
The other two cases involve a Fitzroy man, 76, and a man, 41, from a bayside suburb who occasionally visits Fitzroy with work commitments. The older man was admitted to St Vincent's Hospital on January 29 and the other man to the Royal Melbourne Hospital on February 1.
Human Services Department officials have taken samples from air conditioning cooling towers in the Fitzroy area and are awaiting tests to see if they are positive to the legionella bacteria.
They have also required that the towers be dosed with biocide and disinfected ahead of their regular maintenance schedule as a precaution.
Dr Rouch asked for any doctors who treated people with flu-like symptoms in the Thomastown or Fitzroy areas to check for the possibility of Legionnaires Disease.
Thursday February 10, 2000
SEVEN CASES OF LEGIONNAIRE'S DISEASE
Health authorities are urging people in Fitzroy and Carlton to be alert to the signs and symptoms of Legionnaire's Disease following the notification of seven cases in these suburbs.
Victoria's Chief Health Officer, Dr Graham Rouch, said all seven had links to Fitzroy and Carlton. Six of the seven - five men and a woman - are still being treated in hospital. The other man has been treated and discharged.
Thursday February 24, 2000
A CASE OF LEGIONNAIRES' DISEASE INVESTIGATED
A case of Legionnaires' Disease contracted by a city office worker is being investigated by health authorities,
Victoria's Chief Health Officer, Dr Graham Rouch, said today.
The man, who is employed by the Department of Justice and works in the County Court building, is recovering in hospital.
County Court staff have been warned to be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms of Legionnaires' Disease.
Dr Rouch said water samples have been taken from cooling towers at the County Court and the adjacent Owen Dixon chambers. As a precautionary measure these have been disinfected to reduce possible levels of legionella bacteria that may be present.
Legionnaires' disease is rapidly increasing in Australia, particularly in Victoria, according to Australian Department of Health statistics.
There were 270 cases in 1998, 25% more than in any year since notification began in 1991. Victorian cases more than doubled in 1997 and 1998, jumping from 29 to 64 cases. About 10% of victims die soon after getting the disease.
So far this year 
there has been a further 40% rise.
By 7 July, 168 cases had been notified, more than for all of 1997. Nearly a third of all cases, more than in any other state, have been in Victoria.
A spokesman for the Department of Human Services in Victoria said the 53 Victorian victims in 1999 included two small outbreaks at the Preston Club in Bell Street,
Victoria's chief health
officer, Dr Graham Rouch, says the increasing
number of cases in Victoria is due to better diagnosis and moreair-conditioning.
An Australian and international
expert, Mr Clive Broadbent, who said the disease was preventable with cleaning
and proper design of air-cooling systems, warned that there were 10 times
more cases than suggested by official figures.
The Department of Human Services informs the public about cases only when there is an outbreak, defined as more than one case linked to a definite site. A spokesman for the department said the public was not told of any of the 20 cases during April , or about positive tests at contaminated sites because "they were unrelated''. [But] there is strong medical evidence that single cases are likely to be part of small unidentified outbreaks.
water-treatment industry blames the rise on changed weather patterns, ineffective
cleaning chemicals, and a lack of registers or surveillance of air-conditioning
systems linked to poor industry compliance with cleaning regulations.
****** My Comments
Monday March 27, 2000
WARNING ON LEGIONNAIRES` DISEASE
Health authorities are urging city dwellers, office workers and visitors to be alert to the signs and symptoms of Legionnaire's Disease following two cases with links to an Exhibition Street office building.
Victoria's Chief Health Officer, Dr Graham Rouch, said a further three cases of Legionnaires` Disease which may also be linked to this area are still being investigated.
Three of the five who fell ill - two men and a woman - are being treated in hospital. The other two men had been treated and discharged.
Dr Rouch said two of those hospitalised worked at 222 Exhibition Street - one for the Transport Accident Commission and the other at the Victorian Workcover Authority
||Cooling Towers at 222 Exhibition St|
"One of these cases was diagnosed as a result of workplace surveillance where employees with a history of recent respiratory illness were advised to consult their doctors and inform them of the possibility of Legionnaires` disease.
Human Services Department officials took samples from cooling towers at 222 Exhibition Street and are still waiting for confirmation of the test results.
They have also required that the towers be dosed with biocide and disinfected ahead of their regular maintenance schedule as a precaution. There is no need for staff to stay away from work because these towers and others in the vicinity have been treated.
"The recent hot weather has put a considerable extra load on cooling systems which may have provided a better environment for legionella to multiply," he said.
detailing the signs and symptoms of Legionnaire's Disease are available
from Melbourne City Council as well as the Department of Human Services.
Magpies legionnaires' infection fears
Hundreds of people may have been exposed to legionella bacteria from a contaminated spa in the players' room at the Collingwood Football Club.
A 32-year-old woman, who was a part-time masseuse at the club, is stable but still critically ill with legionnaires' disease. She is in the Austin and Repatriation Medical Centre.
Health officials believe she was infected by inhaling the fine spray from the spa surface.
Another three possible cases are being investigated by the Department
of Human Services. Professor William Hart, head of disease control for
the department, said three people suffering respiratory illnesses and who
had had contact with the club came forward yesterday.
Up to six other people, none of them players, indicated they had some symptoms and wanted to be tested after players, staff and club officials met at the clubrooms yesterday morning for a briefing by a government infectious diseases expert.
Collingwood chief executive officer Greg Swann said no players had shown any symptoms and none would be tested for legionella unless they showed flu-like symptoms.
The spa is considered to have been safe since it was heavily chlorinated on Friday, June 23, when health officials traced it as the possible source of infection.
Given that the incubation period is from two to 10 days after exposure,
any further cases are likely to be evident by early next week.
Club doctor Paul Blackburn said none of the players fell into the high-risk category - aged over 50, heavy smokers or drinkers, diabetic or having chronic lung disease or impaired immune systems - and were unlikely to be at risk.
Collingwood captain Nathan Buckley said he had used the spa on Thursday night and he and the other players were satisfied that they were not at risk after yesterday's briefing. Buckley said he was conscious of the dangers of legionnaires' disease because of the Melbourne Aquarium outbreak earlier this year in which 113 people were infected and two died.
Club president Eddie McGuire said officials began contacting players and others who may have been exposed after learning at 7.30pm on Thursday that results from tests on the spa revealed heavy concentrations of legionella bacteria.
McGuire emphasised that only those people who had been in close proximity with the spa would have been exposed and that there was no danger to anyone using the main building, which includes the social club, or the grounds.
Preliminary samples taken from the club's air-conditioning cooling towers were negative.
Access to the spa in the players' room is controlled by an electronic security system. People permitted to enter the area, which includes about 40 staff, 46 players and a Victorian Football League team and an under-18 team, must punch in a digital code to gain entry.
``We all know what happened down at the aquarium so we're very concerned
about any situation and we're all absolutely devastated that one of our
masseurs has contracted the disease and is in a critical condition,''
McGuire said yesterday.
Source Media (The Age)
Collingwood Football Club
May 1, 2000.
THIRTY-SEVEN CASES OF LEGIONNAIRE'S DISEASE
The number of people confirmed with Legionnaire's Disease from an outbreak associated with the Melbourne Aquarium has now reached 37.
The Communicable Diseases Manager of the Human Services Department, Dr John Carnie, said 20 men and 17 women, aged from 26 to 89, had contracted the disease, including two women who died.
All 37 had been at or near the aquarium between April 11 and 21. Dr Carnie said the Department was waiting on test results from a further 32 people who had been to the aquarium between those dates, and who have now developed respiratory illness symptoms.
"Some of these extra cases may turn out to be Legionnaire's Disease, or they may in fact be other respiratory illnesses," he said.
Dr Carnie said test results on water samples taken from the Melbourne Aquarium's cooling towers had still not been finalised.
The aquarium's cooling towers were disinfected as soon as the Legionnaires` Disease cases were detected. As a precaution, several other buildings in the aquarium's vicinity have also had their towers treated.
The Bracks Government established the Legionella Working Group in October last year to investigate Legionnaires` Disease issues and make recommendations on cooling tower maintenance and regulations.
Dr Carnie urged people who had visited the aquarium from April 11 to 27 and had developed flu-like symptoms to see their doctor.
FULL STORY OF THIS OUTBREAK AT
water-treatment industry blames the rise on changed weather
patterns, ineffective cleaning chemicals, and a lack of registers or
surveillance of air-conditioning systems linked to poor industry
compliance with cleaning regulations.
YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT THE WATER TREATMENT INDUSTRY OF VICTORIA HAS FOR YEARS BEEN USING CHEMICALS THAT ARE INEFFECTIVE AGAINST LEGIONELLA....AND CHANGING WEATHER PATTERNS???? COME OFF IT GUYS, PEOPLE`S LIVES ARE AT STAKE HERE.
The same Methods... Devices ... Chemicals.... are used in NSW and have Health Department Approval
See my comments at the page below
Cost-cutting by shoddy backyard water-treatment operators every day puts Victorians at risk of bacterial infection, including the potentially fatal Legionnaires' disease.
Industry experts allege some small operators try to save money by doctoring water-test results and by dangerously diluting crucial chemicals meant to kill bacteria.
The potential risk to the public is increased when those responsible for air-conditioning cooling towers hire cheaper operators because they know they will provide the test results they want.
Such claims, by several sources in the water-treatment industry, are supported by Greg Downing, who cleans about 50 per cent of water cooling towers in Melbourne.
The Communications Electrical Plumbing Union's Pat Preston and the head of the CEPU's plumbing division, Les Wilmoth, say they, too, are alarmed by reports of "cowboy" operators whose work practices put the public at risk.
MY COMMENTS REGARDING THE ABOVE MADE ON MY 2000 PAGE
question everyone is asking, why an outbreak would occur in a brand-new
WILLMOTT, PLUMBERS UNION:
THIS ONES FOR YOU LES
HEALTH AUTHORITY ON NOVEMBER 5th 1991 DEFENDED ITS DECISION TOKEEP QUIET
ABOUT AN OUTBREAK OF LEGIONNAIRES DISEASE AT A $6 MILLION UNIT OPENEDFOUR
And another one
THIS COOLING TOWER WAS THREE WEEKS OLD
COMMUNITY-ACQUIRED LEGIONNAIRES’ DISEASE ASSOCIATED WITH A COOLING TOWER, EVIDENCE FOR LONGER DISTANCE TRANSPORT OF LEGIONELLA PNEUMOPHILA
Community-acquired Legionnaires disease associated with a cooling tower evidence for longer-distance transport of Legionella pneumophila.
In the period August l0th to 29th 1986.
29 confirmed cases of Legionnaires` disease occurred In Sheboygan, Wisconsin; two cases were fatal.
No common source of indoor exposure was identified.
Waterspecimens were obtained from all known cooling tower units in Sheboygan;
Legionella pneumophilawas isolated at I x 106. colony forming units per liter from a specimen obtained August 27 at plant A. This isolate was identical to the only clinical isolate by monoclonal antibody and isoenzyme sub grouping.
Of 29 persons with Legionnaires disease 21 lived or worked within one mile
(1.6 km) of plant A: Seven of the remaining eight visited within one to two miles
(1.6 to 3:2 kin) of plant A from three to seven days before onset of illness.
Attack rates were highest for persons living within 0.5 mile (0.8 km) of plant A. These findings associate a cooling tower with community acquired Legionnaires disease and suggest that dissemination of Legionella may occur over longer than previously recognized distances.
C. ADDISS. ROGER M. MCKINNEY
Madlyn and Leonard Abramson Centre
This facility, which last October (2001) replaced the old Philadelphia Geriatric Center, in Logan, has voluntarily closed admissions until the source of the bacteria is known.
Note.. Another new centre for the experts of Melbourne to ponder over
More....still a new building really
BUG FOUND AT STRASBOURG
May 19, 2000
The European Parliament in Strasbourg has been hit by an outbreak of the potentially fatal Legionnaires disease.
Legionella bacteria was found in the hot water pipes of the building shortly after the May monthly session, when several people returned ill from the meeting.
Parliamentary leaders caused controversy by deciding to press ahead with June's plenary session despite the discovery of the bacteria, which can cause pneumonia and even death.
They often mix the water purification chemicals in their garages or in sheds at the back of their homes. Due to inexperience, they can render chemicals useless in eliminating water-tower contamination.
WOULD THE EXPERTS COME FORWARD THAT MAKE THESE REMARKS AND BACK THEM UP PLEASE
Industry sources say they often take samples from water towers and analyse them as they try to get more business but find the contamination levels so short of acceptable standards that the purification alleged to have been done by companies holding the contract could not possibly have been carried out.
PUT UP OR SHUT UP LETS SEE YOUR FACTS
Testing procedures are of concern for many in the industry, including Joe Robertson, the managing director of Healthy Buildings International, a company that specialises in indoor air quality. He said companies that supply the chemicals often also did the testing of air-conditioning systems. "It is like letting a vampire loose in the blood blank. There need to be systems in place to ensure the emphasis is on testing and not on selling chemicals
I WONDER JUST HOW MUCH YOU REALLY KNOW WHEN IT COMES TO WATER TREATMENT
Mr Downing and other industry sources interviewed said a number of highly professional one and two-person operations in Melbourne worked to high standards. But others did virtually nothing to purify the towers and may fabricate reports to show the water was pure when it was not.
LETS SEE YOUR PROOF OF YOUR STATEMENT PLEASE
He added that record-keeping was often so poor that those responsible for maintaining water towers in some buildings - notably smaller buildings - did not even know where the water-cooling towers were located, and employed companies that returned favorable results.
Mr Downing, whose company cleans about 2500 towers in Melbourne, at a rate of 250 a month, said he came across a company that continued to receive reports on contamination levels in a water tower that had been closed for six months.
Other cases he had come across included water towers that had to be reached by a ladder or a key when there was no ladder available, and no one had asked for the key - meaning, he said, that the work had not been done.
Michael Beale, an occupational hygienist who has been involved in a number of reviews of legionella outbreaks, agrees that cost-cutting can produce potential health risks. He is alarmed by companies that pay scant attention to the standard of work on air-conditioning systems, but says such indifference is endemic in Melbourne.
Last year he discovered a four-storey building where management had paid for water-treatment work to regulation standards but apparently did no checks. "It appeared to me ... that either there was a catastrophic failure with the documentation or that work, such as the three-monthly cleaning, was not carried out," he said.
Another industry source, who asked not to be named, said water contamination standards in cooling towers in Australia were only "1000th the British standard", but even those low standards were often not met in Australia.
He said failure to meet standards was linked to badly mixed chemicals and cost-cutting by companies who hired the cheapest operators for as long as they got the results they wanted.
Cost-cutters, he said, were known to add the biocide to the water before they took the samples for testing, ensuring the result would be what the manager of the tower wanted and ensuring they retained the contract for the job.
SPEAK UP THEN
Mr Downing encounters cost cutting at a level he believes makes it impossible for contractors to properly do the job. "They say they provide the same service as Hydro-Chem (but) at 30 per cent of our price," Mr Downing said. A difference of a few hundred dollars in a quote from several companies for a job costing about $2000 would not raise suspicions, but something would have to be wrong when the quote was a third or half that of the other companies.
"You would have to ask if they can do the job because we all buy the (expensive) chemicals for about the same price."
READ MY COMMENTS BELOW
Aquarium sells safe message in relaunch
The Melbourne Aquarium will be relaunched next month with a major international, interstate and local marketing campaign to convince visitors to return in the wake of a legionnaires' disease outbreak traced to its cooling towers.
Aquarium executives are also publicly warning all Victorian businesses - including its high-profile sponsors such as Qantas - that the State Government guidelines for legionnaires' prevention are inadequate and they are calling for extra precautions.
To prevent similar tragedies, the rules needed to be revised to require regular Legionella-specific testing, said the acting general manager of the aquarium, Tom Smith. The rules should also become mandatory rather than advisory and should attract fines.
However, asked whether the government was partly responsible for the outbreak, Mr Smith said it was linked to their towers: "If I was in one of those families (affected by the disease) I would not really be interested in someone passing the buck."
The number of confirmed victims of the outbreak has risen to 93, including two women who died. The death of a third person, a man, also might be linked to the aquarium.
Mr Smith said the aquarium's managing director and major investor, Peter O'Brien, had advised sponsor companies attending a function earlier in the week to learn from their experience.
Mr O'Brien had urged the companies to immediately investigate who was maintaining their air-conditioning cooling towers, to consult a range of experts rather than one company and to make sure they were doing Legionella-specific testing even though the guidelines don't require it.
The companies were also urged to strongly consider replacing water-based cooling systems with air-based ones, which are not vulnerable to Legionella. The aquarium plans to install an air-based system within a fortnight.
I REALLY MUST QUESTION THE THINKING OF THE MANAGEMENT AND OWNERS OF THE AQUARIUM IN THEIR RECENT STATEMENTS.
I PONDER WHY YOU URGE OTHER COMPANIES TO INVESTIGATE THEIR TOWERS WHEN READING THROUGH THE LINES OF YOUR OUTBREAK, MANY QUESTIONS NEED TO BE ANSWERED, AND IF THERE IS A BOARD OF INQUIRY WHICH I AM SURE THERE WILL BE...I WILL BE THERE WITH BELLS ON
OF BEING LIKE A CERTAIN PROFESSION THAT BURY THEIR PROBLEMS, WHY DON'T
YOU SOLVE THE PROBLEMS OF YOUR TOWERS INSTEAD OF BURYING THEM.
AND AIR-COOLED WILL NOT SOLVE ALL YOUR PROBLEMS OF LEGIONELLA
one must ask the question WHY is Melbourne going though a crisis with Legionella
over the last two years..
The answer is simple really if you look long and hard enough and stop blaming other people.
The comments above from victoria`s largest water treatment company who says that the some operators are under cutting him by 30% of his cost.. strange how you have 50% of the market in Victoria with people under cutting you by that much.
Calls for testing for Legionella means that those that shout the loudest no nothing about Legionella ( opps did I say something wrong)
We going to test every day?
For those that came in late ( old jungle saying) The outbreak in Spain in 1996 was thought the Water supply
How many cases would you like me to list where people have died because of hospital equipment had been washed or filled with TAP WATER
The list is endless
Strange how we have so many experts all of a sudden, reminds me of Australia`s GST... experts popped up all over the place in such a short time as well........................
Lets have a dob in ..email me all those shoddy companies you say are out there, lets expose them
Cost-cutters, he said, were known to add the biocide to the water before they took the samples for testing, ensuring the result would be what the manager of the tower wanted and ensuring they retained the contract for the job.
Statements like these..back um up..put um up or shut up
Wheres` the outbreaks in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory.
No testing in these states either. oh my
THIS IS THE RECENT STATEMENT BY THE MELBOURNE AQUARIUM VICTORIA AUSTRALIA
LEGIONNAIRES' DISEASE FACTS
The Melbourne Aquarium is completely safe to visit.
Victoria's Chief Health Officer Dr. Graham Rouch has stated:
this disinfection (cleaning of the towers on April 27th) has taken place
there is no reason for people not to visit the Aquarium."
"It is probably one of the safest places to be in the city."
Despite media reports it should be noted that:
The Melbourne Aquarium, through its contractors, has undertaken monthly testing of the cooling towers as required under State guidelines.
John Carnie, Communicable Diseases Manager at the Department of Human Services
said he was satisfied that the required maintenance and sampling of the
cooling towers at the Aquarium had been carried out. He said records
showed that a total bacteria sample was taken on March 15, and returned
a very low count of bacteria.
have documentary evidence tests that were done on March 15 resulting in
a low bacteria count.
The count was within acceptable thresholds and there was nothing to lead us or the air conditioning company to have any concerns, " Bram Alexander, Department of Human Services spokesman".
Melbourne Aquarium cooling towers were completely flushed and disinfected
on February7, 2000 and again on April 27, 2000.
The guidelines only require this to occur once every three to six months.
The Human Services Department has stated that:
"There is absolutely no shortfall in the cooling tower maintenance at the Melbourne Aquarium."
Carnie, Communicable Diseases Manager at the Department of Human Services
said the Aquarium's towers were very well maintained, that the Aquarium
had a regular cleaning regime in place and followed all the guidelines.
(Press Conference 1/5/00).
The Melbourne Aquarium was notified by the Department of Human Services on Thursday April 27 that there was a possible link between an outbreak of Legionnaires Disease and the Melbourne Aquarium's cooling towers. Aquarium management immediately offered to close the Aquarium, the department indicated this was not necessary. Samples were taken from the towers and a complete disinfection procedure was carried out within thirty minutes.
Dr John Carnie, Communicable Disease Manager at the Department of Human Services explained:
was no need for the Aquarium to close once a link to Legionnaires was suspected
because it would have taken longer to shut the Aquarium or warn patrons
than to solve the problem."
Dr Carnie described the action taken by the Aquarium as " the quickest
decontamination we have been involved with"
(Press Conference 28/04/00)
Melbourne Aquarium management are devastated by the events of recent days and are totally committed to finding solutions to what is an ongoing problem for our city. Our sympathies are extended to the families who have lost loved ones and our thoughts are with those who have contracted the disease. We are committed to finding answers.
Melbourne Aquarium has enlisted the support of two national experts on
Legionnaires - Clive Broadbent and Dr. Vyt Garnys to assist in tracking
the source of the outbreak and implement increased monitoring of the Aquarium
environment. Regardless of test results
(Department of Human Services April 27th ) as an absolute precaution we will carry out weekly servicing of our air conditioning towers, fortnightly Legionnaires testing and monthly cleaning of the system.
This is far in excess of the requirements as set down in the national standards. (AS3666.1.1995)
The Aquarium takes the health and safety of its patrons very seriously and has taken all steps to ensure the well being of visitors. The Department of Human Services has stated that the Aquarium is completely safe to visit.
this stage we don't believe there is any continuing public risk from visiting
the Aquarium, " Dr John Carnie, Communicable Diseases Manager at the Department
of Human Services.
For further information please contact:-
General Manager - Marketing and Public Affairs
Tel: 03 9923 5913 Fax:03 9923 5988 Mobile: 0413 625 013
do not know of any way to perform a cleaning and chlorination to eradicate
Legionella from a cooling tower in 30 min., and I have worked on a lot
of cooling towers in four continents following just about every standard
and guideline out there.
More to the point how do they know it worked until the system has been tested post cleaning
Most systems take longer than that just to drain down. if you were to follow the Wisconsin protocol, it takes 48 hours just to get to the point of manual cleaning, the Standards Australia 3336.3 (Appendix C), method takes a minimum of 1 hour, 30 min assuming zero time for manual cleaning, and zero time to drain and refill the system (hardly possible).All of the wetted surfaces must be manually cleaned, the system must be drained and refilled, my best guess is that if the personnel are available on site, with the equipment and chemicals on standby ready to go it would take 6 to 12 hours depending on how much dirt was accumulated in the new system.
Could it be the public health officials was completely out of their depth and misstated the facts? You can throw chlorine in and circulate that round for 30 min. It will significantly reduce the concentration of legionella in the bulk water but not touch the biofilm, so once the chlorine has gone the legionella will be back in the bulk water within 12 to 48 hours at the same concentrations.
The officials described the action taken by the Aquarium as " the quickest decontamination we have been involved with" is a little tongue in cheek? Either this statement is wrong or the comments made, that he system was being operated in compliance with all of the applicable Standards was wrong.
What would be really interesting would be to look at the epi curve for the outbreak and determine the dates of infection/exposure for all of these individuals, if new cases were still being reported (or any one who became symptomatic) 14 days after the statement was made, then we would have an excellent case against the state goverment.It may also shed some light on just how effective the 30 min. chlorination was or was not.
The most terrifying thing in the world to me is a government official stating, " there's no need to panic, its perfectly safe", then you know its time to head for the hills.
Personal email to me
I SENT AN EMAIL TO THE AQUARIUM SAYING THAT IF ITS TRUE WHAT THE WATER TREATMENT INDUSTRY IS SAYING ABOUT COWBOY OPERATORS, I COULD DIE BEFORE I GOT TO THE AQUARIUM
|The Aquarium Outside||
The Aquarium Roof Top View
according to DHS Victoria
During the ThomasTown Outbreak
The proposed Health (Legionella) Regulations 2001 form part of a larger package of
measures being implemented by the Victorian Government to reduce the risks of
contracting Legionnaires’ disease associated with the operation of cooling tower
systems and warm water systems. The package of controls is based on the recommendations of the Legionella Working Party and on consultation undertaken with
stakeholders during 1999-2000.
|One Death 4 Cases|
|Hospital Cooling Towers||Royal Melbourne Hospital|
Legionella death hits the Royal Melbourne
Saturday 23rd. December 2000
Hundreds of people may have been exposed to Legionnaires' Disease from contaminated air-conditioning cooling towers at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Health authorities yesterday confirmed that a patient who died on December 12 almost certainly contracted the disease at the hospital. He had been there for more than two weeks and the maximum incubation period is usually 10 days.
Three other male patients have also tested positive for legionella, a rare form of pneumonia which has a death rate of up to 20 per cent. However, it is not known whether they contracted it at the hospital.
John Carnie, head of the Department of Human Services' communicable diseases division, said yesterday the hospital towers were safe from December 15, but urged anyone who visited the hospital in the past month and was having respiratory problems to see their doctor.
Dr Carnie said people in hospital may be more vulnerable to infection, especially if their immune systems were already compromised. He said legionella could be diagnosed by a simple urine test so no one should be deterred from being tested during the holiday period.
Graham Brown, the head of the Victorian Infectious Diseases Service, located at the hospital, said the patient who died would most likely have been infected by airborne particles of legionella bacteria sprayed from the cooling towers when he went out on a balcony or outside the hospital.
Professor Brown emphasized that the bacteria was not in the air-conditioning system inside the hospital.
He said there was no conclusive evidence to link all four cases to the hospital's towers, but all the cases were being investigated.
The patient who died was confirmed as having legionella on December 15 and the Department of Human Services was called in the same day. Its officers took samples and dosed all the towers with chlorine that day to prevent any on-going
infection. The results from the samples taken then came back on Thursday and revealed that two of the hospital's 12 cooling towers had low levels of the bacteria..
Two of the remaining three patients confirmed as having legionella were admitted with flu-like symptoms, suggesting they may have already been infected when admitted.
Two of them have been discharged; the third remains in hospital but is improving.
The patient who died was admitted in late November with an unrelated illness. His condition deteriorated, he developed a fever and was tested for a variety of conditions, including legionella. Despite treatment, he died on December 12.
Victoria has had a record number of legionella cases this year, with 244 notifications, including nine deaths. This includes the 110 Victorians (two of whom died) who caught legionella at the Melbourne Aquarium.
SOURCE Melbourne Age
Tuesday 30th January 2001,
An employee of The Age is in intensive care following an outbreak of legionnaires' disease in the company's building at the corner of Spencer and Lonsdale streets.
A 57-year-old woman affected by the disease is severely ill according to a representative of the Department of Human Services who addressed staff at the Age.
A 44-year-old man is recovering.
The department confirmed the cases last night, but assured the company an evacuation of The Age's staff from the Spencer Street building was unnecessary.
A full cleaning and decontamination of the building's air-conditioning cooling towers was taking place today after results just received from samples taken on January 19 confirmed the presence of the disease.
The Age had complied with new laws designed to minimise the chances of airconditioning cooling towers harboring the disease.
The laws were introduced after 110 people contracted the disease
and two died at the Melbourne Aquarium in May 2000
According to the Age it carries out regular monthly testing which includes not only full bacteria count testing but specifically tests for legionella.
Complete cleaning and disinfection of the towers are carried out every three months,
In the address to staff the department representative said other buildings near The Age were also being tested.
He said people who walked past the building were also at minimal risk of contracting the disease.
Legionella outbreak strikes The Age
By MARY-ANNE TOY
Wednesday 31 January 2001
Health officials are investigating an outbreak of legionnaires' disease at The Age in central Melbourne that has left one woman, 57, critically ill and in intensive care. Another employee, a 44-year-old man, was discharged from hospital yesterday.
It is believed they were infected by a contaminated air-conditioning cooling tower at the newspaper's headquarters on the corner of Spencer and Lonsdale Streets.
The Age's 1250 employees, and visitors to the building in January, were yesterday advised to watch out for flu-like symptoms, which can take up to 10 days to appear.
Victoria's chief health officer, John Catford, said only those who had developed such symptoms as
headache, fever, chills, muscle aches and pains should see their doctor.
Health authorities were notified early on Monday night of the two cases and, within a few hours, had traced the likely source. Officials visited the building to take samples from all six cooling towers, which were also disinfected with chlorine as a precaution.
Tests completed yesterday following a routine water sample taken from one of the cooling towers on January 19, revealed high levels of Legionella bacteria.
Dozens of other employees, including a journalist who has pneumonia, were yesterday being tested.
The Age's publisher and editor-in-chief, Greg Hywood, and Dr Graham Tallis of the Department of Human Services, briefed Age staff at 12.45pm yesterday.
Mr Hywood said the health threat was his top concern and the whole air-conditioning system and maintenance regime would be reviewed.
He said risk had been minimised by Monday night's disinfection and the cooling towers had been cleaned yesterday.
Mr Tallis said only people who developed symptoms should be tested and most people who did develop colds or flu would probably find they did not have legionnaires' disease.
*****The Age says it exceeds cooling tower maintenance guidelines by carrying out monthly Legionella-specific tests and the cooling system is disinfected and cleaned every three months.
New regulations to reduce the risk of Legionella that come into effect on March 1 will require mandatory registration of all of Victoria's estimated 10,000 cooling towers.
There have been eight cases reported in Victoria this year.
AGE STATES THAT THEIR TOWERS EXCEED THE GUIDELINES
THE NEW OR OLD?
*****The Age says it exceeds cooling tower maintenance guidelines by carrying out monthly Legionella-specific tests and the cooling system is disinfected and cleaned every three months.
BUT THEN THEY SAY
*****Mr Hywood said the health threat was his top concern and the whole air-conditioning system and maintenance regime would be reviewed.
ONE MUST ASK WHY THESE STATEMENTS FROM THE AGE DIFFER
THAT`S MY OWN OPINION
SEEMS THE DAM HORSE HAS BOLTED AGAIN
Cooling Towers on the Age Building
(c) Age Newspaper 2001
Source Melbourne Age
***Authorities say Legionella outbreak poses no risk***
from the Victorian Department of Human Services are checking buildings around
180 William Street in central Melbourne after recent deaths of two men from
43-year-old man from Berwick died on March 5, while a 53-year- old Hawthorn man
died last Thursday from the bacteria.
Victoria's acting chief health officer, John Carnie, says the probable source of the outbreak has only recently been identified and the building's cooling tower disinfected.
Doctor Carnie says there is no longer any risk to the public.
"Now, if people ask us, should they stay away from work or leisure or whatever from the central business district, the answer is clearly not," he said.
"There is absolutely no reason to stay away from that area. There is no greater risk now, than at any other time. "
MELBOURNE.. VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA
8th June 2001
Legionnaires` outbreak kept from public
Health authorities have defended the decision not to warn the public about the legionnaire's outbreak linked to Melbourne's Alfred Hospital, despite the outbreak claiming two lives.
The outbreak began two months ago, with seven people contracting the disease, including four patients, two hospital staff, and a construction worker.
Victoria's chief health officer, John Catford, says two people have died and another is seriously ill in hospital.
He says the source of the outbreak is still unknown, despite extensive testing of cooling towers in the area.
"However, the clustering does suggest that the potential source has been in this immediate area but the testing to date indicates that the site is now safe," he said.
Dr Catford has defended the decision not to issue a warning until now, saying the link has only just been established.
However, Pauline Fegan from the Health Services Union is angry members have been put at risk since the first case in March.
"My understanding is that it was back in March and I haven't had that confirmed but it would be a huge concern to us if that is the truth that we're only being notified now," she said.
Government Victoria's Acting Premier and Deputy Premier John Thwaites is waiting on urgent advice about the source of the outbreak.
He says the Alfred has a full risk management strategy to ensure the water cooling towers are properly cleaned and tested for legionalla.
Mr Thwaites says legionella cannot be entirely removed from the environment.
"We've done an enormous amount. We're leading Australia in terms of legionella management.
"In this particular case our hospital system has a much stricter regime than the rest of the society.
"There has been regular legionella testing and that has not shown any indication of legionella."
Souce Age and ABC news Melbourne
My Comments are my own
someone needs to
Registrations of interest for the Legionnaires' Disease Class Action. Maurice Blackburn Cashman
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Copyright (C) 2000
All Photographs Copyright Jamie Green (C)
(222 Cooling Towers Copyright by others (C) )
Age Tower (C) The Age