Auckland Public Health Service Concerned By Number Of Legionnaires’ Disease Cases

15,000 businesses contacted as a result of Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak

The Public health service in Auckland, New Zealand is continuing to release information following 15 cases of Legionnaires’ Disease in Auckland.  Earlier this month (April 2012) health officials claimed they were confident that ‘shock dosing’ of 300 building would help to curb the disease outbreak.

This followed the death of an elderly woman who died from the illness.  The woman, who had already been ill, was the eleventh confirmed case of Legionnaires Disease in the Auckland area in the space of six weeks.

New Zealand has been featured concerning Legionnaires’ disease in the news in previous years, such as the case in 2005 where an unmonitored cooling tower in Christchurch was linked to three deaths due to the bacterial infection. This highlighted the importance of regular checks on water systems.

As a result in recent weeks, 300 buildings with cooling towers or water systems capable of creating an aerosol have been subject to a requirement to have chemical treatment carried out.

This is particularly important as once an outbreak has been identified, the source of the outbreak is notoriously difficult to pin down. This is why preventative measures here in the UK are deemed to be so vital in the fight against this form of pneumonia.

Auckland Council have since dispatched 15000 letters to companies in the region requesting they immediately carry out chemical treatment in cooling towers, should they have them.  Air conditioning cooling towers are frequently found to be the source of Legionnaires’ Disease, however other possible sources of the outbreak, including car washing sites are also being investigated as possible sources.

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