In September, health officials in a Canadian town just outside Vancouver scrambled to explain a rare cluster of Legionnaires' disease cases in its business district. The problem wasn’t as much a case of why it happened as much as where.
They knew why.
Like most cities and towns around the world, New Westminster shut down in the wake of the pandemic. When businesses resumed, water systems that laid dormant for months suddenly had water flowing through them. That was a problem. Stagnant water in the pipes bred Legionnaires’ disease-causing bacteria, which was suddenly spreading everywhere. But which building – or buildings – was it? Inspectors zeroed in on those with cooling towers, air conditioning units, and decorative water features.