Understanding Legionella 

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microscopic magnification Legionella pneumophila, Gram-negative bacillus that causes pneumonia. 3d illustration

Have you ever heard of Legionella? If you have visited the Sydney CBD area over the past two weeks, you must look out for Legionella symptoms. According to various news sources, the Government of New South Wales has issued an alert to those who have visited the area during the holiday period in December. The outbreak has led to seven active cases; three women and four men were admitted to the hospital for pneumonia treatment after they spent time in the Sydney CBD area. 

How does Legionella spread?

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Legionella is a bacteria that causes severe pneumonia called Legionnaire’s disease. WHO states that one of the common sources of disease transmission is via aerosol inhalation emitted from contaminated water. A few transmission sources include water systems, aircon cooling towers and humidifiers. There is no evidence of infection transmission via human interaction. Once the bacteria transmits, people’s lungs, brain and gastrointestinal tract get affected. It also leads to Pontiac fever, which is relatively less severe. However, in some cases, Legionnaires’ disease can be fatal. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Legionnaires ’ Disease?

There are two forms of the infection – pneumonic and non-pneumonic. Pontiac fever is a non-pneumonic influenza-like infection that lasts about 2-5 days and has an incubation period of up to 48 hours. Fever, headache and muscle pain are the main symptoms; however, no deaths are reported in this case. The other form of infection is Legionnaires’ disease, which is pneumonic and has an incubation period of up to 16 days. Individuals who inhale the bacteria may suffer from fever, lethargy, muscle pain, headache and appetite loss in the initial period. Some may also experience mild cough, confusion and diarrhea. The disease can rapidly change from a mild cough into severe pneumonia with respiratory and multi-organ failure. It is best to get treatment for Legionnaires’ disease because an untreated infection can make the case worse in the first week of the illness. However, in some cases, complications can lead to shock and acute kidney failure. 

Does Everyone Get Affected?

While most people who are exposed to Legionella do not get the infection, the most vulnerable ones include those who: 

  • Are above 50 years old 
  • Have a weak immune system 
  • Are smokers 
  • Had a recent organ transplant 
  • Had a recent stay at a hospital 

What is Happening in the Sydney CBD Area?

The City Business District area in Sydney is on alert, as seven cases were reported in the first week of January. The investigation revealed that patients are in their 20s and 70s and had spent time in the area around Christmas and New Year’s period. What seems like an outbreak has sparked concerns, and authorities have asked people to look out for common symptoms of the infection. While investigations are underway, NSW has asked owners of buildings with cooling towers to comply with the 2022 Public Health Regulation protocols. With routine testing, public health units also work with local counsels to prevent disease outbreaks and prompt pre-requisite measures. 

How Euromate Pure Air can Help

Currently, there are no vaccines available to prevent Legionella spread. However, there are a few simple things you can do at home to avoid inhalation. Air purification can significantly minimize the threat of bacteria inhalation and associated risks. Euromate Pure Air has air purification technology that has the power to eliminate bacteria from the environment in residential and commercial spaces and provide a safe breathing environment for every occupant. For more information, you may contact us, and our air quality experts will be able to assist you better.  

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