Skip to main content

Legionnaires' disease kills 10 in Quebec

From Colleen McEdwards, CNN
updated 12:41 PM EDT, Tue September 4, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Quebec authorities are still trying to pinpoint the origin of the outbreak
  • They urge building owners to set chlorine levels so bacteria can't grow
  • Legionnaires' disease can be fatal, though most people recover
  • An outbreak in Chicago this summer led to three deaths

(CNN) -- Ten people have died, out of 165 total cases, after contracting Legionnaires' disease in Quebec City, the provincial government said Saturday.

Canadian authorities have not publicly pinpointed the exact source of the outbreak. Results from samples may take until mid-September to come in, said Regional Directorate of Health. The agency said it is focusing on places frequented by those afflicted with the disease.

Health authorities are looking especially into cooling systems in two large buildings in Quebec, CNN affiliates CTV and CBC report. A government order has been issued requiring those who own or manage buildings in an unspecified target area to regulate levels of chlorine in the water so that the legionella bacteria -- which cause the disease -- cannot grow.

Quebecois should not have to change their daily habits due to the outbreak, the health department said, noting that healthy people are generally at low risk.

But those who develop tell-tale symptoms are encouraged to contact their doctor, the department said.

Legionnaires' disease is a severe form of pneumonia and is contracted by breathing in small water droplets, whether from mist or vapor, contaminated with the Legionella bacteria. It is not transmitted from person to person.

The disease usually develops two to 14 days after exposure to the bacteria and often begins with a headache, high fever and chills. By the second to third day, a person may develop symptoms of pneumonia like cough, chest pain, and shortness of breath.

Most victims recover, but between 5% and 30% of people who get the disease die, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

An outbreak of the disease in Philadelphia in 1976, largely among people attending a convention of the American Legion, led to its name.

On Friday, the JW Marriott Chicago hotel announced it removed its lobby fountain and closed parts of its luxury spa after authorities determined them to be the likely source of a Legionnaires' disease outbreak that killed three people.

Health officials in the city confirmed 10 cases of Legionnaires' disease, involving people who visited or stayed at the hotel.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT