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October 21, 2005
Cooling tower source of Legionnaires' outbreak
  
Dr. David McKeown, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, announced today that
the source of the Legionnaires' Disease outbreak at Seven Oaks Home for the
Aged has been identified as the air conditioning cooling tower on the roof of
the Home.

"The source was confirmed earlier today by the Ontario Public Health Laboratory
based on environmental samples collected by Toronto Public Health
investigators," Dr. McKeown said. "The cooling tower has been turned off since
October 6, 2005, the day we learned that Legionnaires' was the cause of the
outbreak. There is no risk to the public from this source since that time."

Lab tests showed that the cooling tower contained the same legionella bacterium
found in samples taken from residents. An air intake is located near the
cooling tower. Droplets containing the bacterium were spread through the Home
by the air handling system. The disease then affected a vulnerable population
of elderly residents as well as staff and visitors.

A total of 20 residents have died and 127 people have become ill from
Legionnaires' Disease.


Media contact:

Gil Hardy
Toronto Public Health
416-338-7873



 

 

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