Legionnaires disease: Health warning to workers in Sydney’s CBD as five people are hospitalised

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Legionnaires disease: Health warning to workers in Sydney’s CBD as five people are hospitalised


Urgent health warning to THOUSANDS of workers in Sydney’s CBD as five people are hospitalised with serious disease

  • Five Sydneysiders have been hospitalised with Legionnaires disease
  • Disease caused by breathing in contaminated water particles spread by air-con 
  • Workers in the CBD urged to monitor for symptoms of severe type of pneumonia
  • These include fever, chills, shortness of breath, cough, muscle and headaches

Health officials have warned thousands of city workers could have been exposed to a Legionnaires disease as five people are hospitalised. 

Those who have spent time in Sydney‘s CBD in the last ten days have been urged to monitor for symptoms of Legionnaires disease. 

Symptoms can include fever, chills, shortness of breath, cough and muscle aches, and if left untreated can result in chest infections like pneumonia. 

Five people exposed to the legionella bacteria have been hospitalised after spending time in heavily populated parts of the city over the the last three weeks. 

Health officials have warned thousands of city workers could have been exposed to a serious disease as five people are hospitalised (stock image)

Those who have spent time in Sydney's CBD in the last ten days have been urged to monitor for symptoms of Legionnaires disease (pictured, commuters in Martin Place in 2021)

Those who have spent time in Sydney’s CBD in the last ten days have been urged to monitor for symptoms of Legionnaires disease (pictured, commuters in Martin Place in 2021)

Two women and three men ranging in age from their forties to their seventies have tested positive after spending time in the city. 

Health officials believe the patients were infected in hotspots like Martin Place, Museum Station, York Street and Park Street.  

Legionnaires cannot spread from person to person but instead infects through breathing in contaminated particles usually spread by air-conditioning units. 

Adults over the age of 50, those with chronic lung disease or heavy smokers are believed to be at most risk of the disease. 

The severe type of pneumonia is curable and usually treated with antibiotics. 

Environmental health workers are working with the City of Sydney to oversee maintenance records of all cooling towers in the CBD. 

Health officials will also ramp-up testing efforts in lieu of the new infections. 

Two women and three men ranging in age from their forties to their seventies have tested positive after spending time in the city (pictured, commuters in Parramatta in February)

Two women and three men ranging in age from their forties to their seventies have tested positive after spending time in the city (pictured, commuters in Parramatta in February)

Health officials believe the patients were infected in hotspots like Martin Place, Museum Station, York Street and Park Street (pictured, commuters at Parramatta Station in February)

Health officials believe the patients were infected in hotspots like Martin Place, Museum Station, York Street and Park Street (pictured, commuters at Parramatta Station in February)

‘Public Health Units across NSW follow up every case of Legionnaires’ disease and work closely with local councils in the management of cooling towers,’ the NSW Health department said in a statement.

‘Routine testing of cooling towers helps identify contamination early and allows for prompt cleaning and corrective actions.’

It follows the detection of an outbreak of meningococcal disease at a Catholic girls school in Queensland, which has since been deemed a transmission site. 

Staff and students have been told to closely monitor for meningococcal symptoms, which include sudden onset of rash, red-purple spots or bruises, vomiting, fever, headache, confusion, neck stiffness and joint pain. 

Adults over the age of 50, those with chronic lung disease or heavy smokers are believed to be at most risk of legionnaires disease (pictured, city workers in Sydney in April)

Adults over the age of 50, those with chronic lung disease or heavy smokers are believed to be at most risk of legionnaires disease (pictured, city workers in Sydney in April)

Two students and a teacher from the senior school at St Mary’s Catholic College in Cairns contracted the disease, with the school saying that the pair in hospital were in a stable condition and not in the ICU.

One case was detected on Monday, with a further two discovered on Wednesday. 

The disease is caused by a bacteria, which is carried harmlessly by up to 10 per cent of people and is passed by droplets from the nose or throat.

Meningococcal can cause rapid deterioration and death but in most cases it is effectively treated with the early use of antibiotics. 

There is a vaccine against meningococcus but it is not effective against all strains. 

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