Legionnaires’ disease is a form of atypical pneumonia caused by any type of Legionella bacteria. Signs and symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, high fever, muscle pains, and headaches. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur.

HEALTH

Surrey’s Guildford Walmart re-opens following legionnaires’ testing

Location closed Friday out of ‘abundance of caution’

Guildford Walmart Supercentre has re-opened following a temporary closure related to testing for legionnaires’ disease in cooling towers and fountains.

Anika Malik, director of corporate affairs at Walmart Canada, said Saturday morning (Sept. 8) that the store is open once again. The Guildford location closed its doors Friday (Sept. 7) out of an “abundance of caution,” according to Dr. Aamir Bharmal, a medical health officer with Fraser Health.

RELATED: Guildford’s Walmart’s closure for legionnaires’ testing ‘should be a means for panic’

“We were contacted by the Public Health Agency (Fraser Health) who were investigating the source of Legionnaires’ in the community,” Malik said in an emailed statement. “The safety of our associates and customers is our top priority. Out of an abundance of caution, we voluntarily decided to temporarily close our store while taking steps to deep clean and sanitize our cooling towers which support our refrigeration units.”

The refrigeration units, according to the statement, remain off until a public health inspection takes place, but added the public health agency has “confirmed (Walmart is) able to open the store without offering refrigerated or frozen products at this time.”

“While the disposal of food is not required in addressing potential Legionnaires’, turning off the store’s refrigeration units means we cannot sell refrigerated or frozen products until the coolers are turned back on,” the statement reads.

Bharmal said Friday that Fraser Health is in the early stages of the investigation.

“The point that we want to make is both the Guildford Town Centre as well as Walmart are taking actions right away through an abundance of caution,” Bharmal said. “They are going ahead and cleaning out these sources right away. We would still want them to resample and make sure that there’s no Legionella.”

Meanwhile, Guildford Town Centre remained open. In an emailed statement, Guildford Town Centre said it has “fully collaborated and complied” with all requests from Fraser Health, adding that they have been advised there was “no public health concern within the shopping centre.”

The statement from Guildford adds that Walmart is in a separate building with its own operating and cooling systems.

Late Friday night, Fraser Health posted to social media reassuring people that “most healthy people do not get sick from being exposed to legionella,” adding that the bacteria is “not spread from person to person.”

The post, which was on both Facebook and Twitter, said people who are elderly, smokers, people with chronic lung conditions and who are immunocompromised are at higher risk of getting sick.

“Only if you develop pneumonia-like symptoms such as a fever, shortness of breath, severe fatigue, abdominal pain and diarrhea – AND have been in the Surrey Guildford area over the past 10 days, should you seek medical attention for testing, advice, and treatment,” the post reads.

According to the BC Centre for Disease Control, legionnaires’ is a form of a disease called legionellosis, “an uncommon respiratory infection caused by legionella pneumophila bacteria.” The BCDC’s website said legionella infections are rare in B.C. with 34 cases reported to the BCDC from 1999 through to 2008.

Legionnaires’ disease symptoms, according to the BCDC, start an average of five to six days after exposure to the bacteria.

A bulletin from Fraser Health on Aug. 31 notes that legionella is commonly found in the environment, “particularly freshwater, groundwater and soil.”

“The bacterium can grow and spread in human-made building water systems like cooling towers, hot tubs that aren’t drained after each use, decorative fountains, and large plumbing systems,” reads the bulletin.”

Cluster cases of legionnaires’ disease were confirmed in Surrey as of Aug. 31 after Fraser Health released a statement notifying the public.

RELATED:Cluster cases of legionnaires’ disease confirmed in Surrey

— With files from Tom Zytaruk



edit@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Tenants fighting ‘renovictions’ at Cloverdale apartment building

Renters at Kolumbia Garden are hoping to stop eviction notices

Surrey woman’s ‘tell-all’ book meant to help those struggling with domestic violence

Second book details abusive marriage, how people failed her

SURREY EVENTS GUIDE for Sept. 19 and beyond

Concerts, festivals, plays and more in our weekly calendar

Giant-Hawk name swap for Major Midget League hockey teams

League leaders last year, Valley West squad starts season on the road this weekend

Surrey district cop station closed by sewer backup

People seeking criminal records checks and other services can get help at any of the other stations

64 cats seized from ‘bad situation’ now in BC SPCA care

The surrender is part of an ongoing animal cruelty investigation with BC SPCA Special Constable

B.C. hockey product eyes shot at Olympic spot with China

Fletcher is one of 24 who travelled to Shenzhen, China for the first official Olympic dev camp.

Are you feeling lazy? That’s OK – it’s just science

UBC study shows that humans are hardwired to prefer being sloth-like

LETTER: Who do we blame for the tragedy of Marrisa Shen’s death?

The B.C. girl was killed in a Burnaby park last July

Competition tribunal to hear B.C.-based case on airline food starting in October

The competition commissioner argued Vancouver airport authority had exploited its market position

Trudeau says Canada wants to see ‘movement’ before signing revised NAFTA deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is back in Washington in search of a way to bridge divide

Seek compromise with U.S. on cannabis at border, lawyers urge Ottawa

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency sent tremors through Canada’s burgeoning cannabis sector

Young people need us to act on climate change, McKenna tells G7 ministers

Catherine McKenna led off the three-day Halifax gathering Wednesday

UPDATE: Man arrested in shooting on Abbotsford street near Aldergrove

Nobody injured in shooting, which is not believed to be related to gang conflicts

Most Read