In a follow-up on the cluster of Legionnaires’ disease cases in the Highbridge area of the Bronx, the NYC Health Department is currently investigating a community cluster of 25 cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the Highbridge neighborhood of the Bronx. Two people have died and several others are currently hospitalized.
The two individuals who passed were over the age of 50 and had risk factors for severe disease.
The remediation ordered by the Department for the four cooling towers that tested positive for the presence of Legionella pneumophila, a type of bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease, was completed last week.
New Yorkers with flu-like symptoms, cough, fever or difficulty breathing should contact a physician immediately. Due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19, people seeking care should be tested for COVID-19 and evaluated for Legionnaires’ disease. People get Legionnaires’ disease by breathing in water vapor that contains Legionella bacteria. Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious and can be treated with antibiotics when caught early.
Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia that is caused by the bacteria Legionella, which grows in warm water. Symptoms resemble other types of pneumonia and can include fever, chills, muscle aches, and cough. Legionnaires’ disease can be caused by plumbing systems where conditions are favorable for Legionella growth, such as cooling towers, whirlpool spas, hot tubs, humidifiers, hot water tanks, and evaporative condensers of large air-conditioning systems.
Individuals only get sick by breathing in water vapor containing Legionella bacteria, and the disease is not transmitted from person to person. Individuals at higher risk include those ages 50 and above, cigarette smokers, and people with chronic lung disease or compromised immune systems. People living or working in the area who are experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention with a primary care provider or seek urgent care.
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