CHO Health Alert - Legionnaires’ disease linked to the Brunswick area

Status: Active

Date issued: 24 March 2020

Issued by: Dr Angie Bone, Deputy Chief Health Officer (Environment)

Issued to: Health professionals and laboratories  

Key messages

  • The department is investigating an outbreak of cases of Legionnaires’ disease (Legionella pneumophila, serogroup 1) in the suburb of Brunswick, Melbourne. As of midday on 23 March 2020, there have been four confirmed cases  
  • All affected individuals either reside in or have spent significant periods of time in Brunswick.  
  • Be alert for Legionnaires’ disease in patients with influenza-like symptoms, particularly those with severe pneumonia, who have been around the Brunswick area since February 2020.  
  • If you suspect Legionnaires’ disease, request urinary antigen testing through your normal pathology provider. As a priority, order Legionella culture on sputum, and undertake serology on blood at symptom onset and 4-8 weeks later (as paired sera).  
  • The Department has identified a general increase in legionellosis in the first quarter of 2020. Consider alternative diagnoses to COVID-19 for respiratory infections and undertake appropriate investigations.  
  • Legionnaires’ disease is an urgent notifiable condition which requires notification upon initial diagnosis or clinical suspicion (presumptive or confirmed) as soon as practicable and within 24 hours on 1300 651 160.

Read the full alert: Legionnaires’ disease linked to the Brunswick area


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