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Death Toll Rises in NYC Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreak

Lauren Fernandez1 year ago

The death count has hit 12 in the largest outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in New York City.

About the Outbreak

The reported number of deaths of Legionnaires’ disease in New York City grew from 10 to 12, said Mayor Bill de Balsio of NYC. On Monday, August 10, the number of confirmed cases of the disease jumped to 113, up from 101 on Friday, said FOX News. 76 of these individuals had been discharged from the hospital as of Monday afternoon.

There is believed to be a link between the outbreak and air conditioning cooling towers in South Bronx. 12 of 39 cooling towers were confirmed to contain the bacterium that spreads Legionnaires’ disease. All towers were disinfected by the end of the day on Monday, confirmed the mayor.

Over the weekend, 10 buildings tested positive for the bacteria, including two courthouses, a post office, and a school. There should not be any danger to locals since the cleaning of all confirmed infected cooling towers, said health officials.

There is no evidence of new cases since Aug. 3 as new cases have been attributed to a lag in reporting, said Mayor De Blasio. Investigators are still getting tests back that will help determine the source of the outbreak but city health commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said on Monday “We have encouraging news that this outbreak has slowed.”

About Legionnaires’ Disease

  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that between 8,000 and 18,000 individuals in the U.S. are hospitalized with Legionnaires’ disease every year.
  • More illnesses occur in the summer and early fall, says the CDC.
  • Legionnaires’ is a respiratory disease with pneumonia-like symptoms
  • The disease is not contagious and is only spread by contact with the bacterium Legionella.
  • The bacterium thrives in warm water and can be most dangerous to the respiratory system when in a mist. Most outbreaks have been linked to public fountains. Air conditioning systems, spas, showers, and misters.
  • The disease can be treated with antibiotics. 


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