Five cases of Legionnaires’ Disease in Barrie

Health Unit tracking source of outbreak

Health officials are trying to trace the source of five cases of Legionnaires’ Disease in Barrie.

It’s unusual to have this many cases in the city all at once. The average is two cases a year, usually in late summer or early fall.

Legionnaires’ is a type of pneumonia caused by a bacteria that is commonly found in natural freshwater environments but has also originated in water systems such as plumbing in large buildings and cooling towers.

A recent outbreak of the disease in Orillia was traced to the cooling tower at Rotary Place Arena.

Related: Health Unit Says No Further Legionnaire’s Disease Risk in Orillia

People develop Legionnaires’ when they inhale aerosolized water droplets containing the bacteria. It cannot be passed from person-to-person.

Symptoms include fever, chills, cough and difficulty breathing, as well as headaches, muscle pain and digestive issues (e.g. loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea). 

Most people exposed to the bacteria do not become ill.  

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.