Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Quebec City Legionnaires' Outbreak Appears to Be under Control: Health Chief

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Quebec City Legionnaires' Outbreak Appears to Be under Control: Health Chief

Article excerpt

Quebec City Legionnaires' outbreak 'under control'

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Quebec City's large Legionnaires' disease outbreak appears to be under control, the city's public health director said Friday.

Dr. Francois Desbiens said measures the city's public health department have taken to ensure cooling towers in the outbreak zone have been cleaned and disinfected appear to be bearing fruit.

But it is too soon to say the outbreak is over, he insisted in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"At this time what we say is the outbreak is under control, because we don't have new cases with the beginning of the disease after Aug. 29," Desbiens said.

"But as there is an incubation period from two to 10 days and some people could have their disease (set in) 14 days or 20 days later -- but this is rare -- we prefer to wait ... till we're there to be sure scientifically that the outbreak is completely terminated."

His office reported one additional case on Friday, bringing the total to date to 176 cases. Since the outbreak began in July, 11 people have died from the disease.

There have only been three cases this week, a significant slowing of the case count from earlier in the outbreak. And none of the people who have become ill started to show symptoms after Aug. 29, which is why Desbiens hopes the outbreak is on the wane.

His office is also making some progress in their efforts to find the source of contagion, though that work is painfully slow. For that they can blame the bug, which grows poorly and slowly in a laboratory setting.

Legionnaires' disease is caused by Legionella bacteria. There are 40 species of Legionella but a subtype called Legionella pneumophila is generally responsible for Legionnaires' infections. Specifically, Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 is the most common cause of the disease.

And it appears to be the cause of the Quebec City outbreak as well. …

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