Outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease Kills One in Manhattan
WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, MANHATTAN — July 16, 2018
The number of cases of Legionnaires' Disease in the Washington Heights cluster has risen to 16, health officials say.
Seven people remain hospitalized, one patient is in critical condition. Others are in the process of being cleaned.
According to health officials, anyone feeling flu-like symptoms should see a doctor immediately.
Legionnaires' disease is a form of bacterial pneumonia. Those 50-years-old and older are at the highest risk. The disease is potentially fatal but it can be treated with an early diagnosis.
The symptoms are coughing, difficulty breathing, headaches, muscle pain, and high temperatures. When the bacteria spreads to the individual's lungs the symptoms bear more similarity to pneumonia.
People contract Legionnaires' disease by breathing in water vapor that contains the bacteria. Health officials are testing water from every cooling tower systems in the area of the cluster.
"While most people exposed to Legionella don't get sick, individuals ages 50 and above, especially those who smoke and have chronic lung conditions, are at a higher risk," Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. "This disease is very treatable with antibiotics. I encourage anyone with symptoms of Legionnaires' disease to seek care early."
Other locations in the US have also reported outbreaks.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) confirmed that they have seen 135 confirmed cases this summer across 33 counties.
This compared to 107 cases within the same time frame last year.
Legionnaires' disease is a type of pneumonia caused by the bacteria Legionella, which grows in warm water. Symptoms resemble other types of pneumonia and can include fever, chills, muscle aches, and cough. Most cases of Legionnaires' disease can be traced to plumbing systems where conditions are favorable for Legionella growth, such as cooling towers, whirlpool spas, hot tubs, humidifiers, hot water tanks, and the evaporative condensers of large air-conditioning systems.