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Patient dies from legionnaires' disease in Sydney's Town Hall outbreak

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Legionnaires disease explained

Expert in Environmental Microbiology Dr Harriet Whiley explains the symptoms and causes of Legionnaires after an outbreak in Sydney.



A man has died after contracting legionnaires’ disease in the outbreak encircling the Town Hall area.

NSW Health said in a statement that the man, who was aged in his 80s, died over the weekend.

But health officials believe that the outbreak is now over, as no new cases have been detected since March 4 and the incubation period is two to 10 days.

Legionnaires' disease under a microscope.

Legionnaires’ disease under a microscope.

Nine people have been admitted to hospital with legionnaires’ disease since December.


The disease causes coughs, chills and fever and usually affects middle-aged or older people, heavy smokers and those with chronic lung disease.

NSW Health director of communicable diseases Vicky Sheppeard said investigations into the source of the outbreak were continuing.

Authorities suspect that a contaminated water cooler tower may have blown out particles of the bacteria that were inhaled by people in Sydney’s CBD.

The towers cool the water that is used in airconditioning units of large buildings.

During the past two days, the City of Sydney has inspected water cooler towers in an area bounded by Kent, Pitt, Druitt and Bathurst streets.

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