QUEBEC CITY, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- A Quebec provincial minister announced an inquiry Thursday into a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Quebec City.
Public Security Minister Robert Dutil told reporters nine deaths and more than 140 other confirmed cases of the bacterial lung infection since July would be investigated, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.
"In respect for the people who died and their families, the coroner has to shed light on these events," Dutil said.
The bacterium -- Legionella pneumophila -- is most often bred in the slime on air conditioner cooling fins. It first made news and gained its name at a Philadelphia hotel in 1976 at a convention of U.S. Legion members where more than 30 people died.
Initially, Quebec municipal and provincial officials ordered the rooftop air conditioning units on 30 buildings to be cleansed, but the order was expanded Monday to more than 100 buildings, The (Montreal) Gazette reported.
Legionnaires disease can go unnoticed in some people, but affects the lungs of heavy smokers and the elderly particularly hard, medical research indicates.
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