The public health board in Quebec said on Friday that Legionnaires’ disease had killed another victim increasing the total number of dead from the disease to 10. The board also announced that there were fewer cases of new infections now being reported. Since July, the board said that 158 people had become infected.
Regis Labeaume, the Mayor of Quebec City wants the health board to release the exact locations of the building where health officials have found the legionella bacteria. The Mayor also asked Francois Desbiens, the regional health director to be honest with everyone while the outbreak is being investigated.
The public health department said that many owners of buildings had failed to respond to requests by the government to inspect cooling towers. Health officials believe the outbreak came from the cooling systems on two buildings in the old section of Quebec. Authorities said the cooling systems located on the tops of the over 100 buildings have been disinfected.
Approximately 30 buildings are now being re-inspected to make sure the owners complied with the directives sent out to clean the systems. Legionella bacteria are potentially deadly, can grow in a water system’s stagnant water, and then can be spread in droplets through ventilation systems.
People who smoke heavily and those that have a weak immune system are at the highest risk of developing the disease, which is not a contagion. Symptoms are coughing, a persistent fever and difficulty in breathing. The majority of people are not at risk of developing the disease.
If the disease is diagnosed early enough, it can be treated with strong antibiotics. To date, there has never been a case that has been documented of legionella bacteria that is drug resistant.