UPDATED 12:50 PM PT – Thursday, May 26, 2022
New York City’s Health Department confirmed one person has died of Legionnaires Disease and cases are on the rise, including several patients who have been hospitalized.
“We are saddened to hear about the death of a person who contracted Legionnaires,” Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said. “Health Department staff are working to ensure that buildings in the cluster area are treated and conditions remediated quickly.”
According to the CDC, Legionnaires Disease is not spread from person to person, but people can get infected when they breathe in Legionella bacteria. This bacteria mainly comes from contaminated cooling systems, spas, humidifiers or air conditioning.
Leaders in the Bronx said they are working to inform as many people as they can about the outbreak. Authorities have identified several cooling towers in the Highbridge neighborhood of the Bronx, which contain the Legionella bacteria. The towers have since been disinfected.
“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 with pre-existing chronic health issues,” Vasan stated. “That’s why it’s crucial that you seek health care as soon as you experience flu-like symptoms.”
We are currently investigating a community cluster of #Legionnaires’ disease in the Highbridge neighborhood in the Bronx (ZIP codes 10452 and 10456) and bordering communities. Legionnaires’ is not contagious and is easily treatable when caught early: https://t.co/LRaTebdvSX pic.twitter.com/jJlvTA8nwU
— nychealthy (@nycHealthy) May 20, 2022
The illness has similar symptoms to coronavirus. Residents are being advised to get tested for COVID and evaluated for the disease. Health officials have said the disease causes severe illness and can be fatal.
In the meantime, experts have advised people seek health care immediately if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms.