OHS Canada Magazine

N.S. health officials unable to determine source of legionnaires’ disease outbreak

Avatar photo

August 18, 2023
By The Canadian Press

Health & Safety

Nova Scotia health officials say they have been unable to determine the source of bacteria that caused a recent outbreak of legionnaires’ disease in the New Glasgow, N.S., area.

As of Aug. 3, nine cases and another 20 suspected infections had been detected, but no cases have been reported since.

Some cases were detected in the Glen Haven Manor, a long-term care facility next to the Aberdeen Hospital.

But the Public Health Department confirmed today that the legionella bacteria that causes the disease have not been detected in the facility’s water system.

As a result, officials have lifted health restrictions at the facility, saying there is no identified risk to residents, visitors or staff.


Legionnaires’ disease rarely causes severe illness, but people over 40, smokers and those with chronic health conditions are at an increased risk.

Meanwhile, testing to determine the source of the bacteria continues, though officials say the source may never be determined because the bacteria is common in the environment.

The disease is spread from breathing in legionella bacteria via mist or water vapour from a contaminated water source, such as evaporating cooling systems, hot tubs and decorative water features.


Stories continue below