The number of confirmed cases of legionnaires’ disease in the Greater Moncton area has grown to 12, the regional medical officer of health announced on Thursday.
Dr. Yves Leger says there have been no fatalities and all cases are “recovering.”
The province says it is waiting on tests from a lab in Quebec to confirm that the strain of bacteria found at a contaminated site is the same as the strain found in affected patients, all of which are believed to be linked in time and location.
The results are expected late next week.
New Brunswick’s Department of Public Health says there is no benefit to identifying the contaminated site as it has already taken actions to address the bacteria.
The province announced earlier this month that it was investigating an outbreak of seven cases of legionnaires’ in the region.
Dr. Cristin Muecke, the deputy chief medical officer of health, has recommended individuals who become ill with pneumonia-like or respiratory symptoms, such as fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches and headache, promptly seek medical care or call 811.
Legionnaires’ is a disease caused by bacteria called Legionella. These bacteria are found worldwide.
They can be found in both natural bodies of water such as ponds, lakes and streams and in constructed water systems such as air conditioners, cooling towers, whirlpools, spas and decorative fountains.
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The disease is treatable with antibiotics, but people often need to be hospitalized. It can also cause serious consequences if it goes untreated.
New Brunswick Public Health said in a news release that people do not become ill from Legionella by drinking water and that home and car air conditioning units do not use water to cool, so they are not a risk.
“Although legionellosis is not spread person to person, it is spread when the bacteria are present in an infected water source and fine mists of water from that source are inhaled,” said Muecke.
In New Brunswick, 28 cases were reported to public health between 2015 and 2018.
With files from Aya Al-Hakim, Callum Smith
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