Publication Details

M. Levy, V. Westley-Wise, C. Blumer, M. Frommer, G. Rubin, D. Lyle, J. Brown & G. Stewart, "Legionnaires' disease outbreak, Fairfield 1992: public health aspects", Australian Journal of Public Health 18 2 (1994) 137-143.


An investigation of an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in 1992 in Fairfield, a municipality of Sydney, was carried out to determine the source of the outbreak. Cases of Legionnaires' disease with onset of symptoms between 11 and 20 April 1992 were included. Definite cases were individuals with a history consistent with Legionnaires' disease, confirmed by direct fluorescent antibody testing plus serology or culture. There were two control groups: patients admitted to the same hospital as the cases, matched for age and sex, and patients admitted to hospital with a presumptive diagnosis of Legionnaires' disease, in whom the diagnosis was subsequently excluded. There were 26 definite cases with onset of symptoms between 11 and 20 April 1992. Six (23 per cent) died. Twenty‐two cases (85 per cent) reported visiting the Fairfield business district during the ten days prior to the onset of symptoms. They were 20 times more likely to have visited Fairfield than were matched controls. Matching of Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 from environmental and clinical samples was achieved by cytogenetic fingerprinting. Fourteen cases were linked to a single environmental sample. The epidemiological findings were consistent with a point source of Legionella in the Fairfield business district. It is most likely that the exposure occurred on 10 April 1992.