Outbreak of legionnaires' disease in Surrey prompts warning from Fraser Health Authority

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      A severe form of pneumonia known as legionnaires' disease has been detected in the Guildford area of Surrey.

      According to the Fraser Health Authority, this "cluster of cases" is caused by a bacterium called Legionella.

      It's often found in fresh water, groundwater, and soil, and it can also proliferate in building's plumbing systems, improperly drained hot tubs, and decorative fountains.

      Not everyone who's infected with the pathogen will become ill.

      Fraser Health has advised those with pneumonialike symptoms to seek medical attention if they have a "high-risk condition". That includes smokers, the elderly, immunocompromised people, and those with chronic lung conditions.

      "If they have been in the Guildford area of Surrey in the past 10 days (i.e., since August 21), they should also mention this to their doctor for testing, advice, and treatment," the health authorty states on its website.

      A "cluster" is defined as more than one case and fewer than 10.

      The Legionella pneumophila bacterium causes legionnaires' disease.
      U.S. Centers for Disease Control

      The Mayo Clinic website states that it's not possible to catch legionnaires' disease from person-to-person contact.

      This atypical pneumonia's symptons include high fever, muscle pains, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

      The name of the disease originated after an outbreak at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia in 1976, which killed 29 people.