An investigation is underway by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit after four Barrie residents were recently diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease.
However, Dr. Charles Gardner, the local health unit's medical officer of health, says there's no reason for the public to be alarmed.
He said, “We have notified health care providers in the community to watch and test for potential cases and we are looking for a possible source of the bacteria. Despite this, we believe the risk to residents and visitors is very low.”
In the past six years, the health unit has seen on average two cases annually among Barrie residents.
Legionnaires’ disease is a lung disease caused by legionella bacteria, which is commonly found in natural freshwater environments and can become a health concern in water systems.
People over the age of 50, smokers, or those with certain medical conditions, including weakened immune systems, chronic lung disease or other chronic health conditions, are at increased risk for legionnaires’ disease.
An October outbreak in Orillia led to the Rotary Place cooling tower being closed while the health unit investigated.
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