Quebec – Avoid a fatal episode of Legionnaire’s disease in Quebec, to review in depth the design and maintenance of cooling towers, concludes the regional Direction de santé publique of the national capital.
It unveiled Thursday its final report on the outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease that caused 13 deaths and 181 people, in Québec City, during last summer.
Affected individuals had an average of 62 years and more than two third, 133 patients in all, were hospitalized due to severe symptoms.
The public health report also suggests the creation of a Quebec directory of matching a registry of maintenance of cooling towers.
Dr. Isabelle Goupil-Sormany, medical officer to the Regional Directorate of public health, has highlighted the potential of danger in the presence of Legionella – this bacteria responsible for legionnaire’s disease – in cooling towers.
“Submitted throughout the investigation findings have led to results that show if it is not properly controlled there may be problems”, said Dr. Goupil-Sormany.
This final report lifts the veil on the findings of a large epidemiological study.
“Most people were diagnosed from a urine test. This test is fast, but it does not make the links between sick people and environmental sources”, said the medical officer.
Since these elements were incomplete, cultures were necessary. This survey, which took place over several months, has been like a race against-the – clock to identify cooling towers that are contaminated, on the one hand, but also to quickly implement appropriate disinfection measures to prevent more spread. From this experience, the public health now wants to draw conclusions to improve future interventions, but especially to prevent other outbreaks.
In the cases that have been identified, one of the patients said not attending the sector of the lower town were contaminated cooling towers. This individual is not approached less than eight miles from the affected towers.
“You say the potential for a tower to disperse these bacteria there in the air”, said Dr. Goupil-Sormany.
Among its other recommendations, public health suggests improving scientific expertise, particularly with respect to mechanisms for rapid identification of the sources of the outbreak.
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