Air conditioning systems in central Sydney have been linked to four recent cases of Legionnaires’ disease.
NSW Health warned on Wednesday that four men recently diagnosed with the disease had spent time in the city’s CBD.
Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia caused by a bacterial infection of the lungs that is often caused by contaminated water vapour or dust in air conditioning systems, according to NSW Health. Symptoms include fever, chills, a cough and shortness of breath.
“The time from exposure to the onset of symptoms is typically between two and 10 days, so people who were exposed could have symptoms already or develop them over the next week,” NSW Health communicable disease director Dr Vicky Sheppeard said in a statement.
“People outside can be exposed to the bacteria when a water cooling system emits contaminated water particles into the air.
“People who develop this disease are diagnosed by chest X-ray and a urine test, and usually require antibiotic treatment in hospital.”
Contamination can be prevented, Dr Sheppeard said.
“The bacteria that cause Legionnaires’ disease live in water and can multiply in the water used to cool air conditioning systems, so infection is prevented by routinely maintaining and treating these systems.”
The four men reportedly spent time in the Druitt, Market, Sussex and Pitt Street areas.
NSW Health urged anyone who has visited the Town Hall area and has symptoms to see their doctor.