Four more cases of legionnaires' disease in Moncton, but officials still won't reveal source
Four more cases of legionnaires' disease have been confirmed in Moncton -- part of an outbreak that began Aug. 1 and now totals 16 cases.
The source of the outbreak is linked to a cooling system in a large building, but health officials still won't say exactly where, and that's leaving some patients demanding more information.
Six cooling towers in Moncton's west end were sampled and one site with high levels of legionnaires' was shut down for cleaning.
Samples from that site, along with samples from two patients, were sent to the public health labs in Quebec.
"Results have been received by the public health laboratories," said Dr. Yves Leger, New Brunswick's Regional Medical Officer Of Health. "They conclude that the bacteria from the site is an identical match to the bacteria from our two patient cases."
That confirms the site in question was the source of the outbreak.
Claudette Lirette is one of the 16 cases and she was hospitalized for 10 days in an induced coma.
She's now on the road to recovery.
"It's been going slow," Lirette said. "I don't have any energy. I can't walk far, I get tired fast."
Since her release from hospital, she's had many questions while waiting on the bacteria test results.
"Where is it going to be?" Lirette said. "They were going to identify exactly where it is, but they never did."
Thursday, health officials chose again not to reveal the exact location of the cooling tower.
"We feel that there is no benefit to the public at this point to provide that information," Leger said.
"I think they should tell people," she said.
Of the 16 cases, there have been no fatalities, and all are recovering.
Most patients with the pneumonia-like disease are over the age of 50 with pre-existing medical conditions.
Health officials say they'll continue to monitor the site for at least two months.
At the end of the outbreak, health officials will be doing a debriefing to see what worked and what could be improved.
One of the recommendations will likely be to see how a cooling tower registry could have helped with locating the source quicker.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kate Walker.