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NYC Department of Health investigating Legionnaires’ disease outbreak

The New York City Department of Health is investigating an “unusual” outbreak in Legionnaires’ disease in the South Bronx.

The department stated Wednesday that 31 cases have been reported in the area in the last 19 days, Fox News reports. Two of those people have died.

Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said that officials are “concerned about this unusual increase” in the number of people with the disease, according to CBS News. “We are conducting a swift investigation to determine the source of the outbreak and prevent future cases. I urge anyone with symptoms to seek medical attention right away,” Basset said.

Nearly 2,200 illnesses have been reported in 2015, and 100 of those have been reported in New York City. Officials are working to determine the cause. They are testing cooling towers, hot water tanks and other sources.

Legionnaires’ disease, a kind of pneumonia, can usually be traced to warm water sources, which are good for growing Legionella. These include whirlpool spas, humidifiers, hot tubs, condensers and more. It is not spread via individuals.

Symptoms include diarrhea, loss of appetite, confusion, fatigue and headache. Symptoms normally arise 2 to 10 days after a person is “significantly”exposed to the bacteria, according to health officials. New Yorkers experiencing cough, fever, chills and muscle aches should seek medical attention.

The disease is treatable with antibiotics if it is caught early. Bassett called the disease a “readily treated pneumonia” and advised people with symptoms to “seek care early.”

If you are middle-aged or older, you are a cigarette smoker, you have a weakened immune system or you have a chronic lung disease, then you are more susceptible to the disease, CBS reports.

This is not the first time this year in which the area has experienced an outbreak. In January, 12 people–mainly in the Co-Op City Development–came down with it. The cause was traced back to some contamination in cooling towers.

About Meredith Rodefer

Meredith Rodefer
Meredith Rodefer is a freelance writer, who focuses on anything from lifestyle blogging to hard news, and dancer. Beyond Youth Independent, she has written for sites such as, and Contact Meredith: