The outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Sydney CBD requires a health warning

Thousands of people are warned to be on the lookout for symptoms following an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in a major city.

Health officials have advised anyone who has been to Sydney CBD in the past 10 days to pay attention to symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease.

Five people who have since been hospitalized have been infected with the bacterium that causes the disease, having spent time in the area for the past three weeks.

Legionnaires are often associated with contaminated cooling towers of large buildings and result from inhaling contaminated water particles.

Symptoms include fever, chills, cough and shortness of breath which can lead to severe chest infections such as pneumonia.

Two women and three men, aged between 40 and 70, who tested positive, spent time between Museum Station, York Street, Park Street and Martin Place.

Legionnaires’ disease cannot be passed from person to person.

A number of other cases recently detected in Sydney follow.

Environmental health officers are working with the city of Sydney to review the test and maintenance records of all cooling towers in the CBD.

“Public health units throughout NSW follow up on every case of Legionnaires’ disease and work closely with local councils in managing the cooling towers,” NSW Health said in a statement.

“Routine cooling tower tests help identify contamination early and enable prompt cleaning and corrective action.”

Originally published as Health warning after legionellosis outbreak in Sydney CBD