There have been a higher-than-normal number of cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Ontario this year, and health officials aren’t sure why.
The province has already seen 116 cases of the acute lung infection reported this year, compared to a total of 116 in 2010 and 69 in 2006, according to David Jansen, a spokesperson with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
Legionnaires’ disease, which could be fatal in some cases, is spread through aerosolized water and soil, and not person-to-person contact.
The severity of the disease varies. Its commons symptoms are coughing, malaise, and fever.
In Ontario, an estimated 7,574 episodes are attributable to the bacterium causing the disease called legionella pneumophila each year.
Jansen said in an e-mail that health officials are not sure why the number of reported cases has gone up this year, “since there has been no common cause behind the cases in 2011.”
However, he notes that the high temperatures this past summer might have contributed to the rise in cases.
“This year’s long, hot summer may be a factor because warm water temperatures can contribute to the growth of legionella pneumophila,” he said.
Jensen recommends “proper maintenance of all mist-producing devices such as shower heads, hot tubs, whirlpools, and humidifiers” to prevent the spread of the bacteria.
Legionnaires’ disease is not easily diagnosed but can be treated with antibiotics in most cases.
Original article on The Epoch Times