Outbreak of legionnaires' disease in east-end Montreal responsible for 2 deaths

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Montreal Public Health says the outbreak is located within an area bordered by Pie-IX Boulevard to the west, Highway 25 to the east, Highway 40 to the north and the Saint-Lawrence River to the south. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Montreal Public Health says the outbreak is located within an area bordered by Pie-IX Boulevard to the west, Highway 25 to the east, Highway 40 to the north and the Saint-Lawrence River to the south. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press - image credit)

An outbreak of legionnaires' disease is responsible for the deaths of two people in east-end Montreal, according to public health officials.

At a news conference Wednesday, officials said they have identified 10 cases of the disease since mid-June, including the deaths of two people over the age of 65.

The area of concern is bordered by Pie-IX Boulevard to the west, Highway 25 to the east, Highway 40 to the north and the Saint-Lawrence River to the south.

Legionnaires' disease is a respiratory infection often associated with pneumonia. It is contracted by breathing in airborne water droplets that are infected with legionella bacteria.

Dr. David Kaiser, with Montreal Public Health, says his team hasn't identified a shared source of the infections, though they are investigating several possibilities, including water cooling towers, aqueducts, splash pads and water heaters.

Kaiser said residents should ensure water heaters are set to temperatures above 60 degrees in order to kill bacteria.

Montreal usually reports around 50 cases annually of legionnaires' disease. An outbreak in 2012 in Quebec City was blamed for 14 deaths and 181 total cases.

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