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Legionnaires Investigation

Updated Oct. 17, 2019

The health unit is currently investigating the source of Legionella bacteria responsible for a cluster of cases of illness in Orillia.

The bacteria can cause Legionnaire’s disease, medically known as Legionellosis. This is a lung disease that causes symptoms like pneumonia and can be life threatening for some people. Fortunately most people exposed to the bacteria do not become ill.

The bacteria responsible for the disease, Legionella, is commonly found in natural freshwater environments. However, it can become a health concern in water systems, such as cooling towers, plumbing systems in large buildings and certain medical devices when conditions allow the bacteria to multiply.

People can develop Legionnaires’ disease when they inhale aerosolized water droplets containing the bacteria. People cannot get Legionnaires’ disease by drinking water and it cannot be passed from person to person. Most people exposed to the bacteria do not become ill.

In Orillia investigations have focused within the city. As of October 17, nine cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been confirmed in the cluster.

Others may also have been exposed to the bacteria. Anyone who has a fever, cough, or difficultly breathing should seek immediate attention.

This page will be updated with new information as it becomes available.

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