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Legionnaires' Outbreak Linked to RAC

Legionnaires' outbreak in the Sydney CBD is linked to the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) building in Macquarie St - Health authorities suspect//. However, they could not confirm the link.

Seven cases of the potentially fatal disease caused by a bacteria belonging to the Legionella family, Legionella pneumophilia, have been reported in NSW this month, including six patients who were in the Circular Quay area on New Year's Eve.

RAC building had recorded a legionella count of 1,400 colony-forming units per millimetre, well above the level usually associated with an outbreak, but this doesn't provide conclusive proof that this building was the source of the outbreak - Director of Communicable Diseases at NSW Health, Dr Jeremy McAnulty, said.

He added that the staff and patrons in the building were not exposed to the disease and was confident the outbreak was over.

Sydney City Council officers today ordered the building operators to shut down and decontaminate the cooling tower immediately. Another building in the area was earlier found to show traces of the bacteria, although in small amounts.

A cooling unit at Customs House registered a reading of 200 colony-forming units per millilitre, a category considered by the Department of Health to be of low risk to public health. Outbreaks are usually associated with readings above 1,000.

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