Legionnaires’ Disease was the source of more than 80 percent of waterborne outbreaks between 2011 and 2012, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During that time period, 280 people from 11 states were sickened in 18 outbreaks. reported. Sixty seven people were hospitalized, 10 people died.
Fifteen of the 18 outbreaks reported during that time were associated with Legionnaires’ Disease, which is transmitted by inhaling contaminated water mist These outbreaks, which occurred in hotels, motels, hospitals and health care facilities, sickened 254 people, killing 10 of them. Specific sources included contaminated ornamental fountains, a cooling tower and a storage tank.
Legionnaires’ Disease causes pneumonia-like symptoms such as fever, cough, fatigue, confusion, aches and lung inflammation. Symptoms usually appear two to 14 days after exposure.
People contract Legionnaires’ Disease by from showers, faucets, whirlpools, swimming pools, fountains or cooling towers in air conditioning systems. It cannot be transmitted from person to person.
New York City is currently experiencing its worst-ever Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak. At least 124 people have been sickened, 12 have died.
Most of the cases are in the South Bronx and have been reported since mid-July. Cooling towers at a hospital, hotel and three other buildings associated with the illnesses tested positive for legionella, the bacteria that cause Legionnaires Disease.