The number of deaths and those ill from Legionnaires Disease are rapidly growing in New York City. The Bronx is the epicenter of the disease, therefore, the mayor and health officials are giving helpful information to New Yorkers that will raise awareness of the severity of Legionnaires.
On Tuesday, Mayor De Blasio spoke with health commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett, at a news conference, giving an update on the Legionnaires Disease.
Reports reveal that 86 people have been diagnosed with the Legionnaires Disease and seven have died.
“We’re determined to do everything in our power to minimize the possibility of this ever happening again,” said Mayor De Blasio, at a news conference. “For too long, the risk of Legionnaires’ was underestimated. We are going to be very aggressive in dealing with this problem.”
Legionnaires Disease is a severe, often deadly form of pneumonia which is caused by the Legionnella bacteria which gets its name from an outbreak that killed 29 people attending an American Legion at a Philadelphia hotel in 1976.
The bacteria grow best in warm water, such as water in hot tubs. Breathing in the mist or moist air of where the bacteria is will cause you to be ill.
Cooling towers and air conditioning in large buildings are areas of where the bacteria grows, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you are immediately diagnosed with this disease, you will be treated with antibiotics.
The elderly, smokers and those with weakened immune systems are extremely susceptible than others to Legionnaires’ disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The symptoms of the disease include fever, chills, headaches and muscle pain, coughing, chest pain, nausea, vomiting and difficulty breathing. The symptoms begin two to fourteen days after being exposed to the bacteria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Five cooling towers in the South Bronx have tested positive for the bacteria, in addition, further testing will be done to clarify if those towers were the main source for the outbreak which began July 10.
“We should see, in about a weeks time, the declining number of cases,” said Dr. Mary Bassett. “If you have any of the symptoms or know an individual who is feeling ill, tell them to seek medical attention.”