By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

NSW Health is reporting an increase in Legionnaires’ disease cases in the Greater Sydney area in December and January.

Legionella pneumophila bacteria/CDC

Seventeen cases of Legionnaires’ disease were notified across Sydney and in the Illawarra in January.

Health officials has not identified a specific source to date and reminds building owners to ensure cooling towers are properly maintained.

“Public Health Unit staff investigate each case of Legionnaire’s disease and no specific source has been identified,” Director of Health Protection Dr Richard Broome said.

“However, it’s timely to remind businesses and building owners of their obligations under the Public Health Regulation 2012 to ensure their cooling towers are properly maintained.

If there is any possibility that a system is not operating correctly, it should be cleaned and an online disinfection procedure undertaken as soon as possible.”

Legionnaires’ disease is caused by Legionella pneumophila bacteria and can cause severe respiratory symptoms. Outbreaks have been linked to contaminated air conditioning plants in large buildings. The disease does not spread from person-to-person.

Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease can develop up to 10 days after exposure to contaminated water particles in the air. Symptoms can be similar to those of COVID-19 and include fever, chills, a cough and shortness of breath. Legionnaires’ disease may lead to severe chest infections such as pneumonia.

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