Legionella Found in Gatineau QC

Here is a recent story about a case of Legionella bacteria being found at the federal building (Place du Portage) in Gatineau Quebec.

Legionnaires' disease bacteria found at federal office in Gatineau

Leigionella is a pathogenic bacteria that is known to cause Legionellosis (all illnesses caused by Legionella) including a pneumonia type illness called Legionnaires Disease and a mild flu like illness called Pontiac Fever.

Legionella acquired its name after an outbreak in 1976 of a then-unknown “mystery disease” sickening 221 persons, causing 34 deaths.  The outbreak was first noticed among people attending a convention of the America Legion —an association of US military veterans. The convention in question occurred in Philadelphia during the US Bicentennial year in July 21–24, 1976.  This epidemic among US war veterans, occurring in the same city as—and within days of the 200th anniversary of—the signing of the Declaration of Independence, was widely publicized and caused great concern in the United States.

Legionella bacteria can be found in cooling towers, swimming pools, domestic water systems and showers, ice making machines, refrigerated cabinets, whirlpool spas, hot springs, fountains, dental equipment, automobile windshield washer fluid and industrial coolant.

The largest and most common source of Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks are cooling towers (heat rejection equipment used in air conditioning and industrial cooling water systems) primarily because of the risk for widespread circulation.  Many governmental agencies, cooling tower manufacturers, and industrial trade organizations have developed design and maintenance guidelines for controlling the growth and proliferation of Legionella within cooling towers.

Recent research in the Journal of Infectious Diseases provides evidence that Legionella pneumophila, the causative agent of Legionnaires’ disease, can travel at least 6 km from its source by airborne spread. It was previously believed that transmission of the bacterium was restricted to much shorter distances. A team of French scientists reviewed the details of an epidemic of Legionnaires’ disease that took place in Pas-de-Calais, northern France, in 2003–2004. There were 86 confirmed cases during the outbreak, of which 18 resulted in death. The source of infection was identified as a cooling tower in a petrochemical plant, and an analysis of those affected in the outbreak revealed that some infected people lived as far as 6–7 km from the plant.

Best management practices to prevent the spread of Legionnaires’ disease is to test your cooling tower water for the presence of Leigonella bacteria.  A great resource for learning more about Leionella testing and general information is at Pinchin Ltd.  They have the necessary credentials and laboratory facilities to test for the bacteria, as well as the experience and consultants skilled at managing Legionella assessment and disinfection projects.  For more information about Legionella testing you can call Pinchin at 1-855-PINCHIN or visit their website at http://www.pinchin.com.