Legionnaires' cluster identified in NYC

The New York City Health Department has confirmed 12 cases of Legionnaires' among residents of the Flushing neighborhood in Queens.

The infections have occurred over the last two weeks. All 12 cases resulted in hospitalizations. Seven of the infected individuals have been discharged from the hospital. Health officials are investigating the cases and testing water samples extracted from cooling towers in the area. The health department is currently investigating two suspected cases of Legionnaires' to determine whether the cases are also a part of the cluster.

"I urge individuals in this area with respiratory symptoms to seek medical attention right away. People over the age of 50 and people with compromised immune systems are especially at risk," said Mary T. Bassett, MD, the New York City health commissioner. "As with our previous Legionnaires' disease investigations, we are in the process of investigating the source of the cluster and are working with building owners in the area to rapidly test and clean cooling towers."

Legionnaires' disease is a form of particularly virulent pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria. It is transmitted through the inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water. The bacteria can be particularly harmful to the elderly individuals with lung disease and those with compromised immune systems.

More articles on infection control: 
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