Number of Cases in NYC Legionnaires' Outbreak Doubles in Days: What to Know

Legionnaires' disease -- a type of pneumonia -- is not contagious, the health department said, and it can be treated with antibiotics if caught early on.

Legionnaires disease
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There are now 10 confirmed cases of Legionnaires' disease in the Bronx, according to city health officials who also say the investigation into the cluster continues.

The probe consists of a cluster in Highbridge, where the 10 patients who were diagnosed in the weeks since May 9 live, according to city health officials. In their prior update, delivered just this past Friday, four cases had been confirmed.

Health officials say that no deaths have been linked to the cluster. The Health Department is actively investigating these cases and is sampling and testing water from all cooling tower systems in the area of the cluster. 

Additionally, the city Health Department has notified elected officials and will be flyering the investigations area this week, beginning Tuesday.

“Any New Yorkers with flu-like symptoms should contact a health care provider as soon as possible,” Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan previously said in a statement regarding the cluster. “Legionnaires’ disease can be effectively treated if diagnosed early, but New Yorkers at higher risk, like adults aged 50 and older, those who smoke or have chronic lung conditions should be especially mindful of their symptoms and seek care as soon as symptoms begin.”

Legionnaires' disease is a type of pneumonia that is caused by the Legionella bacteria, which the health department said grows in warm water. Infections come as a result of breathing in water vapor that contains that bacteria.

Symptoms are described as flu-like, including cough, fever and difficulty breathing. Any city residents experiencing those symptoms should contact a physician immediately, the health department said.

Legionnaires' disease is not contagious, the health department said, and it can be treated with antibiotics if caught early on.

New Yorkers with flu-like symptoms, cough, fever or difficulty breathing should contact a physician immediately. Due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19, people seeking care should be tested for COVID-19 and evaluated for Legionnaires’ disease.

An average of 200-500 Legionnaires’ disease cases are reported in the city every year.

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