Legionellosis – Canada

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Seven confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease in New Brunswick, Canada

Cooling towers in western Moncton are suspected to be the source of legionella bacteria. Patients had symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath, and muscle aches.

Six of the seven cases have been hospitalized and some are in intensive care.

Photo: Electron micrograph of L. pneumophila, responsible for over 90% of Legionnaire disease cases.

Legionnaires’ disease is a form of atypical pneumonia caused by any species of Legionella bacteria. Signs and symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, high fever, muscle pains, and headaches. The symptoms often begins 2–10 days after exposure.

The bacterium is found naturally in fresh water. It can contaminate hot water tanks, hot tubs, and cooling towers of large air conditioners. It is usually spread by breathing in mist that contains the bacteria.

It typically does not spread directly between people, and most people who are exposed do not become infected.

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