Date
16 December 2017
The legionellae bacteria can be found in water tanks, hot and cold water systems, cooling towers, whirlpools and spas, water fountains and home respiratory equipment. Photo: HK Govt
The legionellae bacteria can be found in water tanks, hot and cold water systems, cooling towers, whirlpools and spas, water fountains and home respiratory equipment. Photo: HK Govt

Four more cases of Legionnaires’ disease confirmed

Hong Kong authorities have confirmed four more cases of Legionnaires’ disease that are all community-acquired, stressing the importance of proper water system maintenance.

The four cases, which were reported between June 25 and July 1, involved three men and one woman, according to the Centre for Health Protection (CHP).

They included an 89-year-old man living in Skylight Tower in Mid-Levels; a 68-year-old man with underlying illnesses living in Heng On Estate in Sha Tin; a 60-year-old woman with underlying illnesses living in Whampoa Estate in Hung Hom; and a 53-year-old man living in Shenzhen.

A total of 36 cases had been reported as of July 1. Of these, 33 were community-acquired, two were acquired in hospital and one was acquired in a retirement home.

There were 66 and 75 cases in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

A CHP spokesman said investigations are under way to identify potential sources of infection.

The legionellae bacteria grow in warm water. They can be found in aqueous environments such as water tanks, hot and cold water systems, cooling towers, whirlpools and spas, water fountains and home respiratory equipment.

Once infected, patients may have flu-like symptoms such as fever, dry cough, headache and muscle pain. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur.

The CHP said men, people aged 50 or above, smokers, alcoholics and people with weakened immunity are high-risk groups.

Currently, there is no vaccine available for Legionnaires’ disease.

The public is advised to observe personal hygiene and clean water tanks in buildings at least quarterly.

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TL/YH/RT/RA

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