For staff working in the Bronx, who may be concerned about the Legionnaires' disease outbreak, you may want to share the following information:
Legionnaires' disease is caused by the Legionella bacteria. The Legionellabacteria are found naturally in the environment, usually in water. The bacteria grow best in warm water, like the kind found in
There have been more 45 cases of Legionnaires' disease reported over the past 2 weeks in the South Bronx, resulting in 2 deaths. Both deaths were individuals in their 50s with other underlying medical problems.
Health officials are urging New Yorkers, particularly in the South Bronx, presenting with respiratory symptoms, such as fever, cough, chills and muscle aches,to seek prompt medical attention.
Additional symptoms include: headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, confusion and diarrhea. Symptoms usually appear two to 10 days after significant exposure to Legionella bacteria.
Legionnaires' disease cannot be spread from person to person. One becomes infected by inhaling mist/water vapor that is contaminated with the Legionella bacteria.
Most cases of Legionnaires' disease can be traced to whirlpool spas, hot tubs, humidifiers, hot water tanks, cooling towers, and evaporative condensers of large air-conditioning systems.
The New York City water supply does not pose a risk and Commissioner of Health, Mary Bassett, urged people to feel confident in drinking tap water to stay cool during this period of hot weather
.Who is at Risk?:
The investigation has now identified (2) cooling towers in the Bronx that have tested positive for Legionella, one at Lincoln Medical Center and one at the Concourse Plaza Mall.
If these cooling towers are the source of the outbreak, the numbers of new cases should begin to decline.
The key to preventing legionellosis is maintenance of the water systems in which Legionella grow. There are no vaccines that can prevent legionellosis. Persons at increased risk of infection may choose to avoid high-risk exposures, such as being in or near a hot tub.