B.C. Walmart linked to outbreak of legionnaires' disease reopens

Bacteria found in the cooling towers leads big box retailer to halt frozen food sales

A Walmart in a Surrey, B.C., that was closed after public health officials discovered the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease in the store's cooling towers has reopened.

Walmart Canada spokeswoman Anika Malik said the store voluntarily closed on Friday after Fraser Health Authority traced an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease back to the cooling towers, but health officials said that doesn't mean they were the source.

Malik said Saturday in an email that the store's refrigeration units would be deep-cleaned and sanitized and it would not sell refrigerated or frozen products at the current time.

Ivanhoe Cambridge, the manager of the mall in which the Walmart is located, said via email it had co-operated with Fraser Health and was advised there was no public health risk within the shopping centre.

Fraser Health says Legionnaires' disease is a form of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria, which can grow and spread in building water systems like cooling towers, large plumbing systems, fountains and rarely-drained hot tubs.

The health authority has confirmed seven cases of the disease in the past two weeks.

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