Date: 09/02/2018
Read Time: 1min 50 sec
Author: Matthew Cox
Key Points:

  • Hospitals can prioritize Legionella prevention, as water distribution systems are identified as major sources of outbreaks, surpassing cooling towers.
  • The use of AUTOFINE filters can significantly reduce Legionella counts

Prevention of Legionella is a priority in hospitals.  According to,  “More hospitals are facing the dilemma of Legionella outbreaks as they discover the drinking water is the source”.

Further research by suggests that, “The major source [of Legionella] is water distribution systems of large buildings, including hotels and hospitals. Cooling towers have long been thought to be a major source for Legionella, but new data suggest that this is an overemphasized mode of transmission. Other sources include mist machines, humidifiers, whirlpool spas, and hot springs. Air conditioners are not a source for Legionnaires’ disease. They were suspected to be the source in the original American Legion outbreak in a Philadelphia hotel, but new data now suggests that the water in the hotel was the actual culprit.”

A recent solution implemented by Southland Filtration at a major hospital in Victoria makes an interesting study.  Pre mid-2014, the hospital had an ongoing problem with positive Legionella counts.

In mid-2014 a site upgrade utilising the AUTOFINE protection filter by Southland Filtration was implemented and a regime of regular fixture flushing was instituted throughout the hospital. Since then, regular testing has not returned a positive Legionella count.

This system, which is completely automatic in operation, is a basic and low cost solution to one of the major challenges facing building services managers in institutional buildings.

It relies on the ability of the AUTOFINE to automatically screen all incoming mains water for particulate contaminants down to a level of 6 micron or below in size. These particles have been identified as potential carriers to which the bacteria can adhere and their removal greatly reduces the risk of Legionella entering and spreading through the pipework.

The team at Southland is working closely with health industry thought leaders, consultants and hospital staff, in working to determine and refine sustainable solutions facing the industry with the current Legionella crisis. Cutting edge technology such as the AUTOFINE system, will be a crucial component in this war of attrition.