Montreal public health investigating possible outbreak of legionnaires’ disease

A close-up shot of Legionella pneumophila bacteria (Legionnaires' disease).
A close-up shot of Legionella pneumophila bacteria (Legionnaires' disease). Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

Montreal public health is investigating a possible outbreak of legionnaires’ disease in the LaSalle borough.

Seven cases of the illness were reported between Sept. 9 and 22.

“An investigation is underway to determine if those individuals were exposed to a same environmental source, identify the source, and correct the problem to protect the health of the public,” the organization said in a statement issued Friday.

Legionnaires’ disease is a respiratory infection stemming from Legionella bacteria, which is usually found in sources of fresh water. Its symptoms include cough, fever, chills aches and shortness of breath.

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Public health says the probe is looking at all potential sources of Legionnaires diseases in LaSalle, including construction sites and water-cooling towers.

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“A public health team has also been sent to the area located south of the Canal de l’Aqueduc to identify other potential sources,” the health authority said. “Some citizens may be called upon to assist with this activity.”

As a result, the health network is being asked to exercise caution as investigators try to determine if there is an outbreak of legionnaires’ disease and its source. However, public health says Montrealers can go about their business as usual.

The recent spate of cases is likely not linked to an earlier bout of infections reported in the city’s southwest borough in the summer, according to public health.

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