Lower Mainland health officials are investigating after a cluster of cases of Legionnaires’ disease was recently confirmed in New Westminster.
In a statement Friday (Sept. 4), the Fraser Health Authority said it is working to find the source of the bacteria.
Legionnaires’ disease is caused by a bacterium called Legionella, which is commonly found in the environment, particularly in freshwater, groundwater, and soil. The bacterium can grow and spread in human-made building water systems like cooling towers, hot tubs that aren’t drained after each use, decorative fountains and large plumbing systems.
While healthy people don’t tend to develop Legionnaires’ disease when exposed to the bacteria, elderly people or those who smoke, have chronic lung conditions or who are immunocompromised are at higher risk of getting sick with pneumonia.
Symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, severe fatigue and abdominal pain. Anyone who has been in New Westminster and develops these symptoms is urged to seek medical attention, the health authority said.
It’s unclear at this time how many people have been diagnosed. Black Press Media has reached out for further details.
In 2018, 33 people in B.C. reported having Legionnaires’ disease, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.
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