Legionnaires' disease claims 10th victim in Que., 3 dead in Chicago outbreak
A large grouping of Gram-negative Legionella pneumophila bacteria are shown in this colorized 8000X electron micrograph image from 2009. (AP / Janice Haney Carr)
Published Saturday, September 1, 2012 2:16PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, September 1, 2012 8:54PM EDT
The deadly outbreak of legionnaires’ disease in Quebec City has claimed its 10th victim and public health officials warn new cases could surface.
Meanwhile, south of the border, authorities in Chicago are struggling to contain a rash of legionnaires’ disease, which has caused three deaths.
Authorities in Quebec are reluctant to declare that the disease has peaked, as it can take up to 10 days before those exposed to the bacteria are diagnosed.
Since the outbreak came to light in mid-July, there have been 165 cases of the disease in Quebec. The latest death was revealed on Saturday.
The outbreak in Chicago has been linked to poor water quality maintenance in the JW Marriott hotel, according to the department of public health.
A water fountain in the hotel lobby is believed to be the source of the disease.
The fountain was removed and the hotel drained, deep cleaned and closed other water sources including the swimming pool, spa locker rooms and the whirlpool.
The potentially deadly legionella bacteria grow in stagnant water and are often spread through infected droplets in air conditioning systems, swimming pools and other commercial or domestic water systems.
While not everyone who breathes in the infected droplets will become sick, some who do can develop severe pneumonia.
In Quebec, health authorities have narrowed in on the cooling systems of two building towers as potential sources of contamination, but tests to confirm the source could take weeks to complete.
Meanwhile, the systems in more than 100 buildings in the city have been disinfected as a precaution.
During the campaign trail, Quebec Premier Jean Charest said his government will assume its share of the responsibility of the outbreak.
A public inquiry into the spread of the deadly disease has been ordered.
With files from The Canadian Press