NEW YORK – One person has died and eight are hospitalized as authorities investigate a cluster of Legionnaires’ cases in the Bronx.
Nineteen people have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease in the Highbridge neighborhood since May 3, officials said.
Officials say four cooling towers in the area tested positive for the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease and have been ordered to be disinfected.
“We are saddened to hear about a death in a person who contracted Legionnaires’,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “Health Department staff are working to ensure that buildings in the cluster area are treated and conditions remediated quickly. While most people exposed to the bacteria do not get sick, Legionnaires’ disease can cause severe illness or be fatal for those at higher risk, including people pre-existing chronic health issues. That’s why it’s crucial that you seek health care as soon as you experience flu-like symptoms.”
Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include fever, chills, cough, muscles aches, cough and difficulty breathing.
Legionnaires’ is contracted by breathing in water vapor contaminated with Legionella bacteria. It’s not contagious, and can be treated with antibiotics if detected early.