Legionellosis – Australia
2 hospitalized cases of Legionnaire’s disease were reported in Melbourne, Australia.
The disease is caused by legionella bacteria, that can be found in both natural and artificial bodies of water. Local cooling towers, pools, and spas are being tested to find the source of the outbreak. Symptoms are flu-like and severe pneumonia can occur. Infection occurs after breathing in contaminated droplets of water.
Both cases have been hospitalized, other individuals who developed flu-like symptoms are urged to seek immediate medical attention.
Photo: Electron micrograph of L. pneumophila, responsible for over 90% of Legionnaire disease cases.
Legionnaires’ disease is a form of atypical pneumonia caused by any species of Legionella bacteria. Signs and symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, high fever, muscle pains, and headaches. The symptoms often begins 2–10 days after exposure.
The bacterium is found naturally in fresh water. It can contaminate hot water tanks, hot tubs, and cooling towers of large air conditioners. It is usually spread by breathing in mist that contains the bacteria.
It typically does not spread directly between people, and most people who are exposed do not become infected.
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