A recent outbreak in Quebec City has continued in recent days, as 40 people have now become infected with Legionnaires’ disease. Two new deaths were reported Monday, which bring the total number of fatalities to three. Officials are working to uncover the source of the outbreak, which they believe may reside in industrial cooling towers releasing mist containing the Legionella bacteria. Dr. François Desbiens, Quebec City’s director of public health, has indicated that officials are inspecting cooling towers in the region to find the culprit and identify those that have not been properly maintained. Water sampling and disinfections will be ordered for those towers that have not undergone maintenance.
This outbreak is similar in nature to the large outbreak in Scotland earlier this year. Both were presumed to be caused by cooling towers in urban areas spreading mist containing high levels of Legionella bacteria. Unfortunately, the outbreak in Scotland took several weeks to contain, and 100 people were sick before it was over. Canadian officials hope to discover the source quickly and prevent further illnesses associated with this outbreak, which has already been a deadly one.
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