People in NYC are dying of Legionnaire's disease. Here's what it is and how to avoid it.
Health officials have reported an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease in New York. Of 81 cases reported, there have been seven deaths. After polling everyone who contracted the disease, it was found that they all happen to live in the South Bronx. Health officials then cultured 17 water towers and found that five tested positive for Legionella bacteria.
The towers were then cleaned and flushed to remove all bacteria. Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters in a press conference that he believed that one of the five towers was the source of the outbreak.
The five sites we have found, we’re confident based on scientific evidence we have identified only sites that are causing this outbreak.
The mayor also announced that he would introduced legislation to cut down on Legionnaire’s disease outbreaks.
The comprehensive package will address inspections, new recommended action in the case of positive tests, and sanctions for those who fail to comply with new standards. Legionnaires’ Disease outbreaks have become far too common over the past ten years.
Legionnaire’s disease is a severe pneumonia, and you contract it by breathing in mist that has Legionella bacteria. They naturally occur in the summer months, and possible sources of the bacteria heavy mist are air conditioning cooling towers, whirlpool spas, and decorative fountains. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 8,000 to 18,000 people are hospitalized for the disease each year. Especially at risk are people over 50, current or former smokers, and people with chronic lung disease or suppressed immune systems.
Those who contract the disease usually see symptoms two to 10 days after exposure. Those symptoms are usually fever, coughs, chills and other respiratory issues. Legionnaire's can be treated with antibiotics, and only has a 28% chance of mortality. The Times has reported that many in the area are drinking from bottled water even after being told that tap water is safe.