Fraser Health investigating outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Surrey

Fraser Health investigating outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Surrey

Three people in Surrey, B.C. have been hospitalized with Legionnaires' Disease, a severe form of pneumonia that develops after being infected by the Legionella bacteria. It often grows and spreads in water systems like cooling towers, decorative fountains, plumbing systems and hot tubs that aren't cleaned properly.

Legionnaire's disease is acquired from breathing in small drops of water than contain the bacteria.

New Hampshire averages about 32 cases of Legionnaires' disease each year. Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there were 6,100 cases in 2016.

Fraser Health doesn't say how many people are affected, but says it is looking into the source of a cluster of cases in Surrey's Guildford neighbourhood.

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Legionnaires' disease is a treatable using antibiotics for pneumonia. The Public Health Service of Canada points out it can not be transmitted between people. Symptoms usually appear two to 10 days after significant exposure to Legionella bacteria.

It's also advising anyone who has developed pneumonia-like symptoms and who is at higher risk, such as smokers, the elderly or people with chronic lung conditions, to visit a doctor.

Fraser Health says most healthy people who come in contact with Legionella don't get sick, but people with weaker or compromised immune systems can be at risk.

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