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Update on investigation into case of Legionnaires' disease in hospital
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (April 24) reported an update on its investigation into a case of Legionnaires' disease (LD) in St Paul's Hospital (SPH) announced on April 13.

     The female patient, aged 90, was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit of Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital on April 11 for further management and is now in a stable condition.

     Water samples and environmental swabs were collected from SPH for laboratory testing of legionella in a joint investigation of the CHP and the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department on the possible source of infection and to support the implementation of control measures.

     Regarding water samples, seven out of eleven tested positive for Legionella pneumophila, with a level from 0.1 to 5.6 colony-forming units per millilitre (cfu/ml). According to the CHP's risk-based strategy, the total Legionella count of three positive samples was higher than the action level of water systems in low-risk areas of hospitals, i.e. one cfu/ml or above. They were collected from the water tap and water dispenser of the water basin of the patient's room (1.6 to 5.6 cfu/ml).

     As for environmental swabs, two out of three tested positive for Legionella pneumophila.

     "We have advised SPH to conduct disinfection for water system(s) concerned before resumption of clinical services therein. Health advice against LD has been provided to staff and in-patients, including those with weakened immunity who should use sterile or boiled water for drinking, teeth brushing and mouth rinsing," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     "Medical surveillance in the room to which the patient was earlier admitted has been enhanced in collaboration with SPH. No additional cases have been identified thus far. We will maintain close liaison with SPH to monitor the latest developments. Epidemiological investigations are ongoing," the spokesman added.

     As of April 22, a total of 17 LD cases (16 community-acquired, one nosocomial) had been reported in 2017. In 2016 and 2015, there were 75 and 66 cases respectively.
Ends/Monday, April 24, 2017
Issued at HKT 17:57
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