New York’s largest Legionnaires outbreak kills seven
New York’s largest recorded outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease has killed seven people and infected 86 others, as the city moved Tuesday to draw up new legislation to halt future outbreaks.
Sixty-four people are still being treated for the illness, a form of pneumonia, in hospital since the outbreak began on July 10 in the Bronx, the poorest county in the state.
The disease is spread by a bacteria, which has recently been discovered in the cooling towers of five buildings in the area.
Officials say those who died were older patients and had pre-existing medical conditions. Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious and can be treated with antibiotics.
Those with chronic lung diseases, as well as AIDS and HIV patients are among those most at risk.
“In the context of New York City ... we have not had this problem in any appreciable level and now we’re seeing a pattern it’s obviously something we’re going to act on very aggressively,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference on Tuesday.
City hall has identified and decontaminated five cooling towers, which were found to harbor the Legionella bacteria.
New York’s drinking water supply, fountains, shower heads and pools are safe and unaffected, authorities say.
Leaflets were distributed over the weekend to inform residents in the Bronx, where the outbreak has been concentrated, and in- vite them to a public meeting late Monday on the outbreak.
The disease, a serious pulmonary infection, is spread by bacteria that thrive in warm water, such as that found in hot water pipes, air- conditioning systems and industrial ponds.
The mayor said the city would unveil new legislation later this week designed to halt future outbreaks.