1 dead in Legionnaires' disease outbreak that sickened 15 others in New York City

One patient has died in a cluster of 16 Legionnaires' disease cases in a New York City neighborhood, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Seven patients are still hospitalized due to the outbreak, seven have been discharged and one person was treated in an outpatient setting, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene told the WSJ. Affected patients range from 40 to over 80 years old.

Legionella bacteria can grow in the water system of cooling towers, and Legionnaires' disease is transmitted when patients inhale mist of the infected water.

Since cooling towers are a major source of outbreaks, the city inspected 20 cooling towers and ordered 11 of them to be immediately cleaned, health officials said.

The city is taking "very aggressive steps to respond to the cluster," said Oxiris Barbot, MD, the acting commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. "The risks to residents remain very low," Dr. Barbot said.

This cluster of cases is the second to emerge in New York City's Washington Heights area. A July outbreak sickened more than 24 people and caused one death. 

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