Health Warning After Legionnaires' Outbreak In Sydney

Government authorities have issued a safety warning after multiple people contracted potentially fatal Legionnaires' disease in Sydney.

NSW Health advised four people had been recently diagnosed with the condition, which can lead to more serious complications including pneumonia, after spending time in Sydney's CBD in the last month.

The disease, which cannot be spread from person to person, is often linked to contaminated water cooling systems of air conditioning facilities. This has prompted authorities to remind building owners to properly maintain cooling towers.

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“As a routine, when cases report visiting common areas, NSW Health works with local councils to ensure cooling towers in the affected areas are properly maintained,” said NSW Health’s executive director of health protection, Dr Jeremy McAnulty.

The four people were said to have all spent time in Sydney in the last month, but that "may be coincidental" according to authorities. All Legionnaires' cases are followed up by public health units as a matter of course.

"Symptoms include fever, chills, a cough and shortness of breath and may lead to severe chest infections such as pneumonia," NSW Health said.

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NSW Health said it last year strengthened regulations to compel building owners to conduct monthly tests on cooling towers, and report high levels of bacteria, while existing safeguards already required regular inspections and cleaning.

For more information about water cooling systems management, visit the NSW Health website.