Legionnaires Disease Outbreak Hong Kong update 17 Feb 2020

CHP reported one (1) additional Legionnaires Disease case on 17-2-2020, including the two nearby Kwun Tong cases, that brings the total number of cases to fourteen (14) so far in the Choi Hung and Ping Shek area. As reported by CHP all 14 cases involve persons with unspecified underlying illness.

The new case is a 72 year old male residing in Kam Shek House, Ping Shek Estate, the same building as previous case numbers 4, 5 and 8 (refer to map) reported more than ten days ago, that’s significant because the incubation period is normally 2-10 days.

Given the typical 2-10 day incubation period, this gentleman probably contracted the disease between 7 and 15 Feb. 2020, which is after the date CHP reported the Choi Hung MTR cooling towers were allegedly disinfected on the 4 Feb. 2020.

So far CHP has reported that six (6) cases match the specimens taken from the Choi Hung MTR station cooling towers before 4-2-2020, the exact date is not clear.

And MTR staff were witnessed working on one set of the Choi Hung MTR cooling towers on Sunday 16-2-2020, near the Leung Chung road / Ngau Chi Wan village sitting-out area (refer photo below)

Legionnaires Disease and novel coronavirus covid19 have similar presentations, considering the heightened surveillance and awareness surrounding the novel coronavirus covid19 it is inevitable that previously undiagnosed and unreported cases of Legionnaires Disease will be also be discovered.

Additional Hong Kong Legionnaires Disease Cases

In addition to the ongoing Choi Hung / Pink Shek outbreak, three (3) new cases were reported on 17-2-2020 residing in different areas of the city.

  1. A male patient, aged 56 with underlying illnesses, who lives in 1H Sands Street, Central and Western District (Kennedy Town)
  2. A male patient, aged 85 with underlying illnesses, who lives in Ma Tong Tsuen, Chuen Lung, Tsuen Wan;
  3. A male patient, aged 52 with underlying illnesses, who lives in 7 Sau Fu Street, Yuen Long.

Outside Choi Hung, there are six (6) cases in total with no apparent connection to the Choi Hung Outbreak. However, it must be said that the CHP reporting is vague.

legionella, legionnaires disease outbreak, Choi Hung, Ping Shek, cooling towers, Kowloon, pneumonia, Hong Kong

previous update:

http://www.kelcroftasia.com/2020/02/11/legionella-outbreak-hong-kong/

Legionnaires Disease & the Built Environment

Legionnaires Disease Outbreak Hong Kong update 16 Feb 2020

On 16 Feb 2020, the video shows the MTR staff conducting maintenance/inspection on the MTR cooling towers near Ngau Chi Wan Gardens, Choi Hung, Hong Kong

Legionnaires Disease Outbreak Hong Kong update 14 Feb 2020

Legionnaires disease outbreak

Update 2 14-2-2020 @ 21:35

CHP reported on 14-2-2020 that 6 out of the eleven (11) cases apparently match the sequence type identified in two of the four MTR Choi Hung station cooling towers, effectively confirming the MTR cooling towers are one source of the Legionella.

CHP also reports two further Legionnaires Disease SP1 cases on 14-02-2020 although attributing these new cases to a new cluster in Kwun Tong district.

  • A male patient, aged 56 with underlying illness, who lives in Choi Hay House, Choi Fook Estate
  • A male patient, aged 62 with underlying illness, who lives in Wang Kwong Building, 33 Ngau Tau Kok Road

These new two cases reside approx 1000m from the first eleven (11) cases, probably part of the same outbreak, a very popular wet market is located over the Choi Hung MTR station.

CHP link

Legionnaires disease outbreak

Updated 14-Feb-2020 @ 2:27 am

MTR Choi Hung Cooling Towers shutdown

One additional Legionnaires Disease case was reported by CHP bringing the total number of confirmed cases to eleven (11) cases, all located the area around the Ping Shek / Choi Hung estate area in Hong Kong [CHP link].

Legionnaires disease outbreak

The 11th patient is an 82-year-old male living in Kam Hon House that is very close to a previously reported case in the adjacent Kam Wan House, Choi Hung Estate.

MTR Cooling Towers Implicated

CHP reports that three (3) out of the four (4) cooling towers at the Choi Hung MTR station had Legionella Pneumophilia count above the action level!

Presumably, 1,000 cfu/ml, however, no data is given in the CHP report, and the Legionella outbreak is not mentioned on the EMSD website, the MTRC website or in local media (checked 1:10 am on 14-2-2020).

In the CHP press release at 23:55 PM on 13-3-2020, CHP recommended closing and disinfecting all the cooling towers today (13-3-2020) due to the high Legionella pneumophilia count in the samples collected before the first disinfection on 4 February 2020. Remember that the first CHP report issued on 1 Feb 2020 confirmed four cases in that area [CHP link].

12 Feb 2020

updated 12-2-2020 7.22 pm

Still no reporting in the media, and also no update from CHP so far.

11 Feb 2012 (first published)

Legionnaires disease outbreak

Whilst the novel coronavirus attracts headlines, Hong Kong has a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in progress, centered around Ping Shek/Choi Hung Estate, Hong Kong.

Legionnaires’ Disease is a serious, pneumonia type illness ( learn more about Legionella )

There are ten confirmed cases so far, all are reported to be living near the Ping Shek/Choi Hung Estate area of the city, and confirmed cases within the last eleven days.

Legionnaires disease outbreak

There are also three other confirmed Legionnaires disease cases, one located in Lee Uk Tsuen, one located in Tung Tau Tsuen, Yuen Long, and one in Deep Water bay Road, which has not been connected to the main cluster so far.

CHP update 11-2-2020 [ link ]

legionella, legionnaires disease outbreak, Choi Hung, cooling towers Kowloon, pneumonia Hong Kong

Seven dead, 86 infected as New York officials identify and disinfect cooling towers filled with Legionnaires bacteria

Legionella risk assessment

The Washington Post USA (http://tinyurl.com/ofmzeme) reports that so far the New York city Legionella outbreak has claimed the lives of seven (7) people, and eighty six (86) people are sick after contracting Legionairres’ Disease, probably from an infected cooling towers.

cooling-tower-legionella-101

Update 20 August 2015

Since the original reports regarding the New York City Legionella outbreak report above, the death toll has risen to twelve (12) people, with more than 100+ diagnosed with Legionnaires’ Disease.

During the course of the outbreak it transpired that New York City USA, lagged behind Hong Kong, with administrators having no legislative powers for monitoring and enforcing cooling tower operations, that changed on 19 August 2015 when the NY Mayor pushed through legislation [link] requiring improved cooling tower operation and maintenance.

During the course of this legionella outbreak apparently five (5) cooling towers were discovered with Legionella contamination, although the precise source of this outbreak has not been established.


 

Kelcroft’s John A. Herbert WSD lecture on Legionella

green building consultant John Herbert Hong Kong Legionella prevention

Kelcroft’s director John A. Herbert conducted a Legionella briefing for Hong Kong’s Water Services Dept. (WSD) on 7th March 2012 with assistant directors attending. The Q&A, always the most interesting part in my view, covered all aspects of water storage and distribution.

Relevant Links:
4 Jan 2012 –  Kelcroft’s director John A. Herbert interviewed for South China Morning Post news regarding Legionella

Kelcroft’s John A. Herbert lectures on Legionella

Our director John A. Herbert conducted a two hour seminar last week titled “Prevention of Legionella in Buildings” raising awareness about the connection of Legionnaires Disease and building stock in Hong Kong. Herbert said “Legionella is prevalent and business should be prepared, if an Legionella outbreak occurred tomorrow many organisations are not prepared”.

Legionella prevention seminar Hong Kong, John A. Herbert, Kelcroft E&M limited

This seminar covered the ecology of Legionella from cradle to infection, citing past cases with cooling towers and other plumbing apparatus. John’s presentation was vividly illustrated with his photographs demonstrating poor design, and unsatisfactory installations he has amassed over the years.