The New York Health Department is investigating an outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease in the South Bronx. Thirty-one cases of this illness have been reported since July 10, 2015. Anyone who lives in New York who has been sick with fever, cough, chills, muscle aches, fatigue, diarrhea, and muscle aches should immediately seek medical attention.
Two Legionnaires’ patients have died; the Health Department is investigating these deaths and their relationship to the outbreak. Public health officials are testing water from cooling towers and other potential sources of the bacteria in the area.
Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria. Most are traced to contaminated water. Hot water tanks, cooling towers, humidifiers, hot tubs, air conditioning systems, and whirlpool spas are all systems that can carry the bacteria.
This disease is not spread person-to-person. People who are at high risk for this disease include older people, cigarette smokers, those with chronic lung disease or weakened immune systems, and those who take medications that weaken their immune system.
This illness is treated with antibiotics. It can be fatal. Some people must be hospitalized in order to receive the best treatment.