5 things to know about Legionnaires' disease and the NYC outbreak

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New York City is currently facing the largest Legionnaires' disease outbreak in its history, according to The New York Times. Here are five things to know about the disease and the current outbreak.

1. Legionnaires' disease is caused by the bacterium Legionella, which got its name in 1976 when multiple people attending a Philadelphia convention of the American Legion suffered from this type of severe pneumonia, according to the CDC.

2. Legionella is found naturally in the environment, usually in warm water, as well as in drinking water systems, whirlpool spas and cooling towers. People become ill when they breathe in a mist or vapor that is contaminated with the bacteria. About 8,000 to 10,000 people are hospitalized with the disease each year.

3. Cases linked to the current outbreak in the South Bronx area of New York City were first reported on July 10, according to The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. As of Aug. 7, 100 individuals in New York City reported having Legionnaires' disease, 92 have been hospitalized and 10 have died.

4. On Aug. 6, health officials issued an order requiring all New York City buildings with cooling towers to inspect and disinfect the units within the next two weeks.

5. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to announce a legislative plan that will tighten the regulation of the cooling towers. If the plan is adopted, it would make New York City one of the first jurisdictions to impose standards for cooling tower testing and maintenance.

 

 

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