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Nine dead from Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Quebec City

The death toll from the outbreak of legionnaires’ disease increased by one to a total of nine in Quebec City on Wednesday, as public-health authorities sought additional help in their inspection of buildings that are suspected of harbouring the deadly Legionnella bacteria.

Authorities also reported that the number of people infected with the non-contagious bacterial illness surged to 141 from 126 on Tuesday in what is one of the biggest outbreaks of legionnaires’ disease in Canada in at least 25 years.

The outbreak is now in its sixth week, with no signs of having peaked.

Dr. François Desbiens, director of public health in the provincial capital, said that the team of municipal and public-health inspectors will now receive help from the Régie du bâtiment, in charge of the province’s buildings.

On Tuesday, Desbiens said that visual inspections of 99 rooftop cooling towers — the suspected source of the outbreak — revealed that at least 29 were in filthy condition. Authorities were getting ready to douse those towers with another “shock treatment” of bromine to kill off any lingering bacteria.

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