A confirmed outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease, or Legionellosis, has been declared in New York City and health officials have provided updates and need-to-know information regarding the illness.
A confirmed outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease, or Legionellosis, has been declared in New York City and health officials have provided updates and need-to-know information regarding the illness.
Legionnaires’ Disease, a type of pneumonia caused by the bacterium Legionella, is not transferred from person to person but rather infection occurs by breathing in water vapor infected with the bacteria. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issued a statement about the outbreak that began on July 10 in the South Bronx, NYC. Eight people have died from this recent outbreak.
“We are concerned about this unusual increase in Legionnaires’ disease cases in the South Bronx,” Health Commissioner Mary Bassett, MD, MPH, said in the news release. “We are conducting a swift investigation to determine the source of the outbreak and prevent future cases.”
Legionella grows in warm water such as faucets, showers, or cooling towers. Health officials tested 17 cooling towers for the bacteria and five tested positive. They are confident that at least one of them is the source of the outbreak. The cooling towers have been disinfected and there is no longer a risk in those areas.
“I urge anyone with symptoms to seek medical attention right away,” Bassett advised.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified 10 things that healthcare workers need to know about Legionnaires’ Disease:
2. Who to Test
3. How to Test
4. Respiratory Specimen for Diagnosis
5. Preferred Treatment
6. Ask Patients About Travel
7. Frequency of Disease
8. Sources of Legionella
9. Risk Factors
10. How to Report Diagnosis