New York City Legionnaires’ disease death toll rises to 8
New York City raised the death toll from Legionnaires’ disease to eight on Wednesday and the number of reported cases to 97.
That was up from seven dead and 81 cases on Monday.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office noted in a fact sheet that all of the dead in the South Bronx outbreak were older adults with underlying medical problems. The outbreak began July 10.
Legionnaires’ disease is caused by bacteria called Legionella, which grow best in warm water commonly found in plumbing systems, including hot tubs, water tanks, cooling towers and large air-conditioning systems.
The pneumonia-like sickness is contracted by breathing in mist or vapor contaminated by the bacteria. The disease does not spread from person to person.
City officials have said the outbreak is probably related to contaminated mist emitted from commercial cooling towers on roofs of buildings. Seventeen cooling towers have been tested, the mayor’s office said, and five have tested positive for the bacteria.
“Health officials are confident that one or more of the five locations ... was the source of the outbreak, and the risk has been removed through disinfection,” the mayor’s fact sheet said.
Legionnaires’ disease was first identified in 1976 when more than 200 people attending an American Legion convention at a Philadelphia hotel were sickened and 34 of them died.
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