An industrial area of Christchurch is at the centre of an outbreak of the deadly Legionnaires’ disease, from which six adults have since been hospitalised. The four woman and two men, who ranged in ages from 49 to 79 years of age, fell victim to the disease as they contracted it whilst working within an industrial cooling tower. While the adults suffered resulting health problems as a result of the contraction, they have all since been discharged from hospital.
The industrial cooling tower that is the culprit of the outbreak is situated in the Hillsborough area, which also tested positive for the Legionelle pneumophila serogroup 1 bacterium on April the 8th. This comes to no surprise as Legionella bacteria live in water-based cooling systems and only become severely dangerous when airborne. Canterbury medical officer of health Ramon Pink has since urged all businesses operating within the target area to test and sample the water within their cooling towers.
While the issue has been present since April, the public has only recently been notified of the outbreak. With Mr Pink revealing the risk that members of the public contracting the disease is very low and there would be more danger to driving your car than there would be to contracting Legionella’s disease.