Tags: Legionnaires Disease | New York City | cases

Legionnaire's Disease Cases on Rise in New York City

By    |   Friday, 09 Jan 2015 02:26 PM

An increased number of Legionnaire's disease cases are being reported in the Bronx, and New York City Health Department officials are trying to determine if the cases can be linked to a common source.

Eleven cases of the deadly form of pneumonia were reported in December, compared with just two from December 2013 and three in December 2012, representing nearly 20 percent of the 61 cases the borough reported for the whole year, reports New York NBC affiliate WNBC.

According to the Mayo Clinic,  Legionnaires' disease is caused by the legionella bacterium, and is not spread by person-to-person contact but instead when the bacteria is inhaled. The bacteria can also cause a milder illness, Pontiac fever, a flu-like illness that typically clears on its own. However, Legionnaire's can be fatal, but is also cured through antibiotic treatment.

The bacteria thrives in warm environments and can spread through air or vapor droplets from showers, faucets, and more. The disease can come on anywhere from two to 10 days after a person is exposed, and symptoms resemble pneumonia and include high fevers, chills, and chest pain, along with symptoms that can include appetite loss, muscle aches and fatigue.

The elderly, smokers and people with immune system diseases, along with those on immunosuppressive drugs, are most at risk.

The disease is fairly rare, according to the Health Department, and carries a fatality rate of 5 percent to 40 percent, reports WNBC.

The Health Department has issued an alert to care providers to test for the disease when patients come in with pneumonia symptoms.

Legionnaire's disease was discovered for the first time in July 1976, after American Legionnaires returned from a state convention in Philadelphia suffering severe pneumonia symptoms, reports The New York Times.

It was determined that the bacteria in Philadelphia was spread through a hotel air-conditioning system, and the disease was named because of where and how it was discovered.

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An increased number of Legionnaire's disease cases are being reported in the Bronx, and New York City Health Department officials are trying to determine if the cases can be linked to a common source.
Legionnaires Disease, New York City, cases
318
2015-26-09
Friday, 09 Jan 2015 02:26 PM
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