Tags: legionnaires disease | new york

Legionnaires' Disease NYC: Bacteria Kills Four, Officials Seek Source

Image: Legionnaires' Disease NYC: Bacteria Kills Four, Officials Seek Source
Legionnaires' disease or legionellosis or Legion fever. Human silhouette with highlighted internal organs. (Designua/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Monday, 03 Aug 2015 09:55 AM

Legionnaires' disease is being blamed for four deaths and making more than five dozen others sick in New York, and officials continued to search for the source of the outbreak this week.

"We think it is very possible that there will be an increase in cases over the next seven days. We are also quite confident that after that time, the number of cases will go down," the city's deputy health commissioner Dr. Jay Varma told WABC-TV on Saturday.

"We can never know for sure what the future holds and we are working very aggressively to make sure people at risk – people in senior centers, people at homeless shelters, people with other medical problems – get the message to pay attention to their health."

Officials found five buildings with cooling towers in the South Bronx with the Legionella bacteria, and those units have since gone through cleaning. There have been 65 Legionnaires' disease cases confirmed in the city since July 10.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Legionnaires' disease is a severe form of pneumonia, a lung inflammation usually caused by infection. The illness is caused by a bacterium known as legionella.

Most people catch Legionnaires' disease from inhaling the bacteria. Older adults, smokers, and people with weakened immune systems are the most susceptible, noted the Mayo Clinic.

City officials told CNN that four of the victims were older with underlying medical problems, the city said.

"We are conducting a swift investigation to determine the source of the outbreak and prevent future cases, Dr. Mary Bassett, New York City health commissioner, said to CNN. "I urge anyone with symptoms to seek medical attention right away."

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said in a statement that he would call for a citywide inspection that would test building water infrastructure for the disease.

"The city must create a new inspection system for these systems, just as we inspect other critical systems such as elevators," Diaz said.

CNN reported that from 8,000 to 18,000 are hospitalized with Legionnaires' disease annually in the United States.

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Legionnaires' disease is being blamed for four deaths and making more than five dozen others sick in New York, and officials continued to search for the source of the outbreak this week.
legionnaires disease, new york
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2015-55-03
Monday, 03 Aug 2015 09:55 AM
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