NSW Health is warning people to look out for symptoms after five people developed Legionnaires’ disease following time spent in Sydney’s CBD.
Five people have been struck with Legionnaires’ disease after spending time in Sydney’s CBD in the past three weeks.
NSW Health is advising people who have visited the area in the past 10 days to be vigilant and watch out for symptoms, which include fever, chills, a cough and shortness of breath.
The disease can also cause severe chest infections such as pneumonia.
The bacteria which cause the disease is often linked with contaminated cooling towers from large buildings.
Exposure to the bacteria is generally airborne when water particles from the cooling system are dispersed into the air and breathed in, NSW Health said.
People who develop legionnaires’ disease are diagnosed by chest X-ray and a urine test, and tend to require antibiotic treatment in hospital.
The infected people – two women and three men, ranging from ages 40 to 70 – independently visited locations between Museum Station, York St, Park St and Martin Place prior to developing symptoms.
All of them have been admitted to hospital for treatment.
These five cases follow several recently identified cases of the disease throughout Sydney.
Public Health Units across NSW are following up every case of legionnaires and are working with local councils to manage cooling towers.
In Sydney, environmental health officers from NSW Health are working with the City of Sydney to review testing and maintenance records of all cooling towers in the CBD area.
Routine testing of cooling towers helps identity contamination early and business owners are reminded of their obligations under the Public Health Regulation 2012, NSW Health said.
Legionnaires’ disease cannot be spread from person to person.