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10 dead in Quebec Legionnaire’s disease outbreak

By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, September 2, 2012 8:13 EDT
A doctor examines a test tube. Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.

A Legionnaire’s disease outbreak in Quebec City has killed 10 people since late July, health authorities in the francophone Canadian city said in an updated toll.

A total of 165 people have so far been diagnosed with the disease, which poses a risk for people with weak immune systems but can be treated with antibiotics.

The regional DRSP health authorities noted that the most recent count included cases reported over the past 10 to 15 days, as Legionnaire’s has an incubation period of two to 10 days.

DRSP has launched an investigation to determine the cause of the outbreak.

Health authorities suspect improper maintenance of cooling units in air conditioning systems are at fault for the outbreak.

Legionella bacteria grow in stagnant water in such appliances, then spread with droplets expelled by the system during operation.

Legionnaire’s disease — discovered in 1976 during a veterans convention in the United States, where 29 people died — is an infection that causes high fever, dry cough and pneumonia.

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