September 8, 2018 7:19 pm

Guildford Walmart closed over concerns of Legionnaires’ disease reopens

The Fraser Health Authority has confirmed Legionella bacteria found in cooling towers of Guildford Town Centre, leading to the closure of the big box store. Jill Bennett has the details.

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A Walmart Supercentre in Surrey that was closed due to concerns about a possible Legionnaires’ disease outbreak has reopened to the public.

The Walmart is adjacent to the Guildford Town Centre Mall, where tests confirmed the presence of Legionella bacteria in the building’s cooling towers on Friday.

The mall remained open, but the big box store chose to close “out of an abundance of caution,” said Walmart Canada director of corporate affairs Anika Malik in an email.

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READ MORE: Legionnaires’ disease bacteria found in Guildford Mall cooling towers: Fraser Health

“The safety of our associates and customers is our top priority,” said Malik in an email.

“We voluntarily decided to temporarily close our store while taking steps to deep clean and sanitize our cooling towers which support our refrigeration units.”

Malik said that the store’s refrigeration units remain powered off, and will remain so until Fraser Health can conduct an inspection.

WATCH: Cluster of Cases of Legionnaires’ Disease reported in Surrey’s Guildford area

She added that the store won’t be able to sell any refrigerated or frozen food until that inspection is complete and the cooling system is rebooted.

“Public Health has confirmed that we are able to open the store without offering refrigerated or frozen products at this time,” said Malik.

Fraser Health has confirmed seven cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Surrey, all clustered in the Guildford neighbourhood.

READ MORE: Officials investigating ‘cluster’ of Legionnaires’ disease cases in Surrey

The authority said Saturday that there have been no new cases of Legionnaires’ detected.

However, the disease can take up to 10 days for symptoms — including cough, fatigue, fever, abdominal pain and diarrhea — to show up.

WATCH: Legionnaires Disease outbreak closes Surrey Walmart

Fraser Health has said that anyone showing these symptoms should visit a doctor, and should also let them know if they’ve been in the Guildford area in the last week and a half.

It added that both the Guildford Mall and Walmart had cooperated with investigators and taken appropriate action, and that the public should feel safe visiting them.

Legionnaires’ disease is caused by a bacteria known as Legionella, which is commonly found in the natural environment, including freshwater, groundwater and soil.

It can, in extreme cases, be fatal.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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