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Friday, October 07, 2005 

Legionella identified as cause of "mystery outbreak" in Toronto

I was the guest on a local radio show on Wednesday to talk about influenza and other emerging diseases. Imagine my surprise when the host asked me about the latest SARS outbreak in Toronto. Good thing it was radio and no one could see the dumbstruck look on my face; I hadn't heard about SARS re-surfacing in Canada. Anyhoo, it turns out that the "mystery illness" was Legionaire's disease, not SARS.

Health officials have identified Legionnaire's disease as the illness that killed 16 elderly people at a Toronto nursing home, a medical officer said.

There have been no new deaths and the spread of the illness has been contained, said David McKeown of Toronto's health department.


Their inability to at first identify it spooked the elderly and cast a shadow over a city still trying to shed bad publicity from the SARS epidemic.


About me

  • I'm Tara C. Smith
  • From Iowa, United States
  • I'm a mom and a scientist, your basic stressed-out, wanna-have-it-all-and-do-it-all Gen Xer. Recently transplanted from Ohio to Iowa, I've spent most of my life in the midwest (with 4 years of college spent out east in "soda" territory). My main interest, and the subject of my research, is infectious disease: how does the microbe cause illness? What makes one strain nasty, and another "avirulent?" Are the latter really not causing any disease, or could some of those be possible for the development of chronic disease years down the road? Additionally, I've spent a lot of time discussing the value of teaching evolution, and educating others about "intelligent design" and other forms of creationism. My interest in history of science and medicine is also useful as a way to tie all of the above interests together. [Disclaimer: the views here are solely my own, and do not represent my employer, my spouse, that guy who's always sitting by the fountain when I come into work, or anyone else with whom I may be remotely affiliated.]
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