Legionnaires’ disease has killed a total of 12 people in the South Bronx of New York ever since the outbreak began on July 10th. However, according to the New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the outbreak is on the decline. He said there have been no new reported cases in a week. The most recent case of the illness was reported over a week ago.
So far in New York, there have been a total of 113 cases of Legionnaires’ disease since July. And among those people who have been hospitalized, 76 had been released from the hospital since the beginning of this week.
According to a New York Times article, the source of the outbreak may be a hotel in the South Bronx called the Opera House. The hotel’s water cooler was one of five in the South Bronx that initially tested positive for the Legionella bacteria. No final conclusions about the source of the outbreak have been made yet. More testing is needed to confirm this.
It was confirmed that five buildings in the South Bronx have tested positive for the Legionella bacteria. Another five buildings also recently tested positive which includes a high school, a post office, and two courthouses. So far, officials have determined that a total of 12 out of 39 cooling towers in the South Bronx have been contaminated with the bacteria. Officials have stated that these cooling towers have since been disinfected and that they do not pose any health risks to the public.
Mayor de Blasio said he will be proposing legislation to prevent future outbreaks. He says the proposal would require that all existing cooling towers to be registered with the city's Department of Buildings. It will also require regular inspection, testing, cleaning and disinfection.
Legionnaires’ disease is respiratory disease that causes severe pneumonia-like symptoms. It is caused by a bacterium called legionella. People cannot get the disease from other people. Most people get it by way of inhalation. People who are at highest risk for catching it are older adults (50 years old or older) with other health conditions such as chronic lung disease, smokers, and people with weakened immune systems. The complications of Legionnaires’ disease can be life-threating if left untreated or not treated right away. They include respiratory failure, septic shock, acute kidney failure, or even death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Legionella bacteria most often grows in warm water, such as in cooling towers, large plumbing systems, hot water tanks, hot tubs, air conditioners, mist sprayers in grocery stores, and fountains.
According to the CDC, between 5 percent and 30 percent of patients who develop Legionnaires' disease die from it. It is estimated that between 8,000 and 18,000 people in the United States are hospitalized with Legionnaires' disease every year. However, this number may be higher due to a lack of reporting.