Macau’s Health Bureau has issued a statement on the most recently announced tests it did for the presence of legionella bacteria at Sands China Ltd’s Parisian Macao resort (pictured) on Cotai.
The bureau made the announcement on Monday, approximately two weeks after it had authorised the reopening of two fountains at the Parisian Macao. Monday’s statement said some “abnormal” levels of legionella bacteria had been found at the property – but not in the fountains – in its most recently announced tests, conducted between May 8 and June 1.
Sands China told GGRAsia in a statement on Tuesday that – in three water taps where legionella had been found in those recent Health Bureau tests, the firm had “immediately sterilised” the equipment, and was using an “independent third party” for an “ongoing water treatment and testing programme”.
In late April the Parisian Macao had been linked by the Health Bureau to three confirmed cases of Legionnaire’s disease. Each involved separate men from Hong Kong that had been at the property in December, January and March respectively.
Legionnaire’s disease is a serious lung infection caused by legionella bacteria. Such bacteria can occur in water tanks, cooling towers, spas and water fountains.
The operation of the resort’s water fountains had been suspended on April 21 by order of the Health Bureau and the facilities drained prior to cleaning.
In its Monday statement, the Health Bureau said that on June 2 and June 6 it had lifted respective suspension orders on the indoor and outdoor fountain at the Parisian Macao, as no legionella bacteria had been detected in them.
But the statement said that following site tests conducted between May 8 and June 1, other places in the venue had at that time shown evidence of “abnormal” levels of the microorganism.
Three water samples “exceeded the action level of one colony-forming unit per millilitre (CFU/mL)”, out of a batch of 153 water samples that were taken.
Two of the samples exceeding the action level came from a toilet accessible to the public in the Parisian Macao’s shopping mall, and one came from the tap of a hotel room at the property, the bureau said in its Monday statement.
A World Health Organization guide on water sanitation and water system safety, published in 2007, noted: “Health-based targets usually focus on controlling the proliferation of legionellae and the production and release of aerosols [water spray], because of the difficulty of determining what represents an acceptable limit for legionella.”
A Health Bureau inspection of the Parisian Macao in April had found “abnormal levels” of legionella bacteria in 10 out of 78 water samples collected at the casino resort.
The Health Bureau noted in its Monday announcement: “…the hotel [Parisian Macao] has already employed water experts from Singapore to conduct a full assessment of the water supply facilities at the property, and is now adopting all measures to further improve the cleaning and disinfection of the water supply system.”
On Tuesday, the health department confirmed to GGRAsia that it would continue to inspect water samples at the Parisian Macao to monitor the situation regarding legionella bacteria. It also confirmed that it currently had no suspension order in place for any Parisian Macao facility requiring water supply.
Sands China told GGRAsia in an email on Tuesday: “According to the results of tests conducted by the Macau Health Bureau in late May, water quality at the Parisian Macao complies with Bureau-provided guidelines and water quality standards, except for a sample from two faucets [taps] in a public restroom [toilet] and one from a guest room faucet. The company immediately sterilised the faucets, after which further tests of water samples proved in full compliance with required standards.”
The company added: “In addition, all water sources and supply outlets in the Parisian Macao have been fully sanitised as a precautionary measure.”
The casino operator further stated: “Sands China Ltd considers the health and comfort of guests and team members a fundamental priority, and remains committed to a high standard of hygiene. As such, the company continues to have a rigorous and ongoing water treatment and testing programme in place through an independent third party. In addition, a stringent set of hygiene policies and procedures, fully endorsed by a leading international water quality expert, continues to be monitored to ensure water quality fully meets international standards.”
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"The stronger mass growth [in Macau in the second quarter] should be viewed positively vis- à-vis [the] government’s stated priority”
Japanese brokerage Nomura