BREAKING NEWS: Legionnaires Disease Outbreak Strickens Dozens, Kills Two In Bronx

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Legionnaires Disease Outbreak Strickens Dozens, Kills Two In South Bronx

Nearly three dozen cases of Legionnaires’ disease, a severe, often lethal, form of pneumonia spread through the air, have been reported in the Bronx over the last two weeks in what the Health Department is calling a concerning “unusual increase” in cases.

Lincoln HospitalThirty-one cases have been reported in south Bronx neighborhoods, primarily in High Bridge, Morrisania, Hunts Point and Mott Haven (Community Board Districts 2, 3 and 4), since July 10, the Health Department said. Two of the people stricken with the condition died at Lincoln Hospital.

“We are concerned about this unusual increase in Legionnaires’ disease cases in the South Bronx,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett. “We are conducting a swift investigation to determine the source of the outbreak and prevent future cases. I urge anyone with symptoms to seek medical attention right away.”

Learn More About Legionnaire’s Disease

Legionnaires’ disease is caused by exposure to the bacteria Legionella; in most cases, people are exposed to the bacteria by inhaling contaminated aerosols from cooling towers, hot tubs, humidifiers, whirlpool spas,showers, faucets or drinking water, and evaporative condensers of large air-conditioning systems. It is a common pneumonia that is treatable.

Legionnaires’ disease cannot be spread from person to person. 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). Those with symptoms should call their doctor and ask about testing for Legionnaire’s disease.

Officials are testing water from cooling towers and other potential sources in the area to determine the source of the outbreak.

Legionnaires’ disease was  first identified after an outbreak at an American Legion meeting at a Philadelphia hotel 1976.