Seven people have now died in the Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak in the South Bronx, New York City. The Health Department is investigating water from cooling towers, which it believes is the source of the bacteria. Eighty-six people are ill.
At a press conference, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that legislation for tightening regulation of water cooling towers will be introduced this week. Five cooling towers in the South Bronx have tested positive for the pathogenic bacteria. One of the towers is at the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, where some of the patients are being treated.
The legislation would require that building owners would have to register their cooling towers with the city. The towers would be regularly inspected. If Legionnaires’ bacteria are found in the towers, the owners would be forced to immediately decontaminate towers that harbor the bacteria.
Officials say that the outbreak peaked on July 30, 2015, and they think that cases will begin to decline. Anyone who lives in the area and is experiencing the symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease is urged to go to the doctor as soon as possible.
Those symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, and cough, similar to pneumonia. Other symptoms may include headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, confusion, or diarrhea. In addition, anyone who has a medical condition that affects breathing, ask to be tested for the illness. The disease is treated with antibiotics.