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Man in his 80s the fifth person to be diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease in deadly Sydney outbreak

Updated: Feb 11, 2018

  • A fifth person has been diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease in Sydney

  • It comes after four cases were recorded in inner-west suburb of Burwood

  • An elderly man died of disease in Concord Hospital earlier this month 

  • Tests conducted in Burwood have not shown any signs of Legionnaires'

A fifth person has been diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease after a man died earlier this month during an outbreak in Sydney.

'Environment health officers have completed taking samples of potential water sources in the Burwood LGA,' Acting Chief Health Officer Dr Jeremy McAnulty said.

'Final results will be available at the end of this week.'

None of the water tests returned so far have been positive for the disease.

An elderly man died at Concord Hospital earlier in the month as a result of an outbreak in Burwood, one of numerous cases to occur in Sydney this year. 

The latest case comes after Labor made calls for NSW Health to assume responsibility for air cooling system inspections, instead of local councils.

Opposition health spokesman Walt Secord has called for a central registry of cooling towers to be set up to help authorities quickly identify the source of an outbreak.

Air condition cooling towers can be a breeding ground for legionella and this is too important to be left to local government,' he said on Sunday.

The measures are part of an opposition five-point plan, which also includes increasing the number of inspections and strengthening system check-up rules.

It also calls on the government to issue timely and prompt warnings about outbreaks, after Health Minister Jillian Skinner said she knew about the second fatal outbreak a 'few days' before the public was told.

'The community has a right to know and they have a right to know the locations especially, if they feel that they are showing symptoms,' Mr Secord said.

Dr McAnulty says a Legionella panel of experts is reviewing the recent outbreaks and considering whether strengthened measures were needed.

Public health units have worked with local governments to investigate cooling towers in affected areas, he said.  

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