Failing air conditioning units drive Legionnaires outbreak

Legionnaires’ disease, a deadly bacterial infection can be contracted in
various environments from plant nurseries to dusty buildings. The disease can
also spread through contaminated water vapour from malfunctioning air
conditioning systems and water cooling towers. Many Legionnaires cases were
detected in the Sydney CBD early this year, with authorities scrambling to
locate the problem system.

A March 16 article in the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported that at
least nine people contracted the disease, with one person losing their life as
a result of the infection. Health authorities have so far failed to find the
source of the infection in the latest outbreak even though they have investigated
all cooling towers associated with air conditioning systems in a specific part
of the Sydney CBD.

NSW Health’s Director – Communicable Diseases Dr Vicky Sheppeard is
certain that the disease came from a cooling tower, but the hazardous particles
may have blown into the area on the wind. She has, therefore, called for
business leaders to ensure their cooling towers and air conditioning systems
are up to standard.

She explained that the bacteria causing Legionnaires’ disease can thrive
and multiply in the water used to cool air conditioning systems; routine
maintenance of the systems is therefore necessary to prevent the infection,
which can otherwise even affect people outside the building when they are exposed
to the bacteria from contaminated water particles emitted by the water cooling
system.

Additionally, the symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease mimic the common
cold or flu, leading to delay in seeking medical treatment. This highlights the
importance of regularly servicing and checking air conditioning and
refrigeration systems.

testo recommends its Smart Refrigeration tools for regular
inspection and maintenance of air conditioning and refrigeration systems in
buildings.

Combining four of testo’s pressure and
temperature instruments, the Smart Refrigeration set is perfect for many air
conditioning and refrigeration applications encompassing servicing,
preventative maintenance, commissioning and troubleshooting. The technology allows
a smartphone or tablet to be connected via Bluetooth for app-controlled
servicing and troubleshooting, ensuring accurate measurements without needing
additional tools.

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