Three more cases of legionnaires' disease confirmed in Moncton
Published Thursday, August 22, 2019 9:08PM ADT
Last Updated Friday, August 23, 2019 7:32AM ADT
The outbreak of legionnaires' disease in the Moncton area is not over as three new cases are confirmed, bringing the total number of cases to 12.
"Since our last update, we've had three additional cases reported to public health," said Dr. Yves Leger, the regional medical officer of health. "We've had two cases reported this week, and one the week before."
Claudette Lirette was one of the 12.
"I couldn't believe it," she said. "It was very scary."
Lirette says she didn't even know what legionnaires' disease was until after her doctor informed her she had tested positive for the potentially fatal illness.
"I noticed that I started feeling weak, and I asked my boyfriend to bring me to the bathroom and I passed out there," Lirette said.
After losing consciousness in her home, Lirette was rushed to the hospital and placed in a medically-induced coma for six days.
"She said it was a confirmed case of legionnaires' disease, and I had never heard of it either," said Lirette's sister, Linda Demone.
Health officials say six cooling towers in Moncton's west end have been investigated as potential sources for the outbreak.
One of the sites tested positive and has since been shut down for cleaning.
"The company was immediately contacted, and was ordered to immediately shut down the affected towers," said Leger. "They were also ordered to immediately clean and do a thorough disinfection of the tower."
But he won't reveal the exact location.
"At this point in time, we do not feel it would be helpful for the public to know that information to ensure their safety or protect them from any risks," Leger says. "And it does not change our actions as well in terms of the measures that we're going to be taking."
It's a decision Lirette says she doesn't agree with.
"That's something they should do automatically, because it's going to scare a lot more people in Moncton," she said.
Leger says they're still waiting on the test results to return from the lab in Quebec to see whether or not the strain of bacteria found in the tower is the same strain found in patients.
Until that information is available, Leger says he cannot declare the outbreak as officially contained.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Eilish Bonang.