Montréal’s regional public health department (DRSP) has issued a call for caution to the health network, with an aim to identify cases of Legionnaires’ disease linked to a possible outbreak of the illness in LaSalle.
Seven cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported to the DRSP between last September 9 and 22.
An investigation is underway to determine if those individuals were exposed to a same environmental source, identify the source, and correct the problem to protect the health of the public.
All potential sources of Legionnaires’ disease in the sector are being investigated: water-cooling towers, water fountains, decorative water features, construction sites, etc.
A public health team has also been sent to the area located south of the Canal de l’Aqueduc to identify other potential sources. Some citizens may be called upon to assist with this activity.
The current cases are probably not linked to those that occurred this past summer in south-west Montréal. Every year, about 50 Montrealers contract Legionnaires’ disease.
People can go about their business as usual. However, preventive measures can be taken at home, for example, checking that the temperature of electric hot water heaters is set to 60 oC. For more information
What Is Legionnaires' disease?
Legionnaires’ disease is a respiratory infection that can be caught when breathing in fine water droplets contaminated with Legionella bacteria in the air. The disease mostly affects people 50 years of age or older with chronic conditions, as well as smokers and people who drink a lot of alcohol. It does not spread from person to person.
Legionnaire’s disease is caused by a bacterium called Legionella. The bacteria occur naturally in low quantities in fresh water and wet soils, and can also be found in water cooling towers, spas, hot tubs, whirlpools and electric water heaters.