Update expected on Moncton-area legionnaires’ disease outbreak

Public Health may offer the first update Tuesday in two weeks on an outbreak of legionnaires’ disease in the Moncton region.

Dr. Yves Léger, regional medical officer of health, told reporters on Aug. 16 that cooling towers would be tested to determine the source of the outbreak. Samples from some of the seven who have become ill would be cultured and sent to a Quebec lab.

 

“We still need to wait for bacteria grown on culture and conduct typing, to see if these are exactly the same bacteria as the ones in our patients,” Léger said Aug. 16. He said preliminary results would be known by the end of that week.

But requests for updates since then have gone unanswered.

On Monday, a spokesperson for Department of Health indicated Léger would provide an interview Tuesday.

Seven people have become ill with the severe form of pneumonia since the outbreak was declared in early August.

Public Health suspects cooling towers as the source given a lack of commonalities between patients.

The towers are mechanical equipment with water and a fan that are part of the centralized air-cooling system for a variety of types of buildings. Bacteria can grow and spread into the community on mist from the towers carried by the wind. The illness doesn’t spread person-to-person.

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