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Quebec Legionnaires deaths rises to eight

An outbreak of legionnaires’ disease in Quebec, Canada has now killed eight people, with a total of 107 people contracting the disease since July

Liberal Leader Jean Charest is promising that his party will look into the outbreak to determine what could have been done differently.

Three new cases have brought to 107 the number of people who have contacted the disease in Quebec City since July.

Authorities have disinfected the systems in more than 100 Quebec City buildings but say more cases could surface in the coming days.

The source of the current outbreak is believed to be the cooling systems of two building towers.

Chantale Giguere, assistant director general for public security in Quebec City, said more than 100 cooling towers have been inspected.

”Beginning tomorrow (Tuesday), we’re going to revisit 30 towers that we checked last week,” Giguere said Monday.

”We want to do turbidity tests on the water — to see how transparent it is — as well as chlorine tests to verify that building owners have complied with what we asked them to do.

Inspectors are going to return to 30 cooling systems over the next few days to look at the water and to make sure building owners have complied with clean-up directives.

Charest, who is in the midst of a hard-fought battle to be re-elected next week, refused to politicize the debate on Monday and said it is not a ”partisan affair.”

His position clashed with that of his health minister, Yves Bolduc, who has accused the Parti Quebecois of failing to implement recommendations from a report in 1997 when the PQ was in power.

”And if we see by Thursday that these tests are not positive, they could be faced with an order to have their cooling towers shut down.”

The Quebec government promised additional steps against the disease following criticism last week from Quebec City’s mayor.

The new measures, which may be enacted this fall, include holding building owners legally responsible for maintaining their cooling systems.

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