Sydney Legionnaires’ disease warning issued after five infected

In 2019, building owners in Sydney were warned to guard against Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks by checking their cooling towers after four people contracted the disease. And in 2016, 15 people contracted the pneumonia-like illness after visiting Sydney’s CBD during two separate outbreaks linked to two water cooling towers.

In response to the 2016 outbreaks, NSW Health tightened public health regulations, requiring building owners to perform monthly cooling tower tests and report high levels of Legionella and other bacteria to local councils.

NSW Health said public health units in NSW were tracking every case of Legionnaires’ disease and working closely with local councils in the management of cooling towers.

“Routine testing of cooling towers allows contamination to be quickly identified and enables rapid cleanup and corrective action. Legionnaires’ disease cannot be passed from person to person,” NSW Health said.

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