New York City health officials said that 10 people have died in the recent Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in the Bronx. The Health Department said 100 people have been hospitalized. Officials said all of the patients who died were older adults with underlying health problems.
Dr. Mary Bassett, the city health commissioner, has said it is the largest outbreak the city has ever seen. She added that the city expects a decline in the outbreak in about a week.
Mayor de Blasio reported that the outbreak was sourced to large on-residential commercials buildings that are fairly new. The outbreak has been linked to contaminated water coolers. 17 coolers were tested; five locations that tested positive for legionella bacteria have been sanitized. The legionella bacteria causes Legionnaire’s disease through inhalation. The disease cannot be spread from person to person.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state Department of Health would offer free testing of cooling towers and evaporative condenser units, where the bacteria also can hide. The offer is good until October.
Residents can call the following hotlines for free testing: 888-768-7243 & 518-485-1159
“We are concerned about this unusual increase in Legionnaire’s disease cases in the South Bronx,” Bassett said. ” I urge anyone with symptoms to seek medical attention right away.”
The Health Department issued this statement: “If you live in the area and experience respiratory symptoms, such as fever, cough, chills and muscle aches, seek medical attention right away.”
Investigators found samples of legionella in air conditioning equipment at Lincoln Hospital and a complex that contains a movie theater, the AP reported.
Groups at high risk for Legionnaire’s disease include people who are middle-aged or older – especially cigarette smokers – people with chronic lung disease or weakened immune systems and people who take medicines that weaken their immune systems (immunosuppressive drugs).
Symptoms include fever, chills and muscle aches.
In January, eight cases of the disease were diagnosed in residents of Co-Cop City in the Bronx.
The cooling towers at the housing complex were found to be contaminated with the bacteria.
Visit the Health Department’s website for more information: NYC.GOV