NYC officials record second death in Bronx Legionnaires outbreak: 24 cases linked to contamination of four cooling towers
- New York City legionnaire’s outbreak has now reached two deaths and a total of 24 cases, officials report
- The cases are linked to four Bronx cooling towers that have been found to be contaminated with bacteria that cause the infection
- Legionnaires cannot spread from person to person, officials assure the public
- Officials report that the cooling towers believed to be to blame have now been decontaminated
Two people in New York City’s Bronx borough have died from Legionnaires’ Disease after two dozen cases of the rare bacterial infection were linked to contaminated cooling towers in the area.
The New York City Department of Health confirmed the deaths Wednesday and said both patients were over 50 years old and had factors that put them at risk for serious illness.
Cases of the pneumonia have been discovered in the Highbridge neighborhood of the city’s northernmost borough – including the region just next to the iconic Yankees Stadium.
Officials also confirmed that 24 cases have been confirmed as part of this outbreak, with four patients currently hospitalized. Four cooling towers that tested positive for bacteria that cause the disease have been decontaminated.
The recent outbreak is one of the last things the city needed as the Big Apple is also currently being hit by Covid and the nation leads in positive cases of monkeypox in the beginning of yet another public health emergency.
Two dozen cases, four hospitalizations and two deaths from Legionnaire’s in New York City’s Bronx have been linked to four cooling towers found to be contaminated with bacteria that cause the rare infection
Legionnaires’ disease is caused by Legionella bacteria that can infect the lungs of a person who either swallows or breathes in water or air containing it.
The bacteria occurs naturally in freshwater environments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, but it becomes a hazard when it makes its way into man-made buildings.
New York City officials first discovered cases of pneumonia in early May and announced eight cases and one death from the bacterial infection on May 23.
Days later, on May 25, the number of cases had risen to 25 and the city’s health department announced that four cooling towers in the Highbridge area had tested positive for the bacteria.
Because cooling towers pump exhaust gases into the air, it is possible that these people have inhaled polluted air or come into contact with polluted water in the environment.
The infection kills about ten percent of people who get it, according to official figures, but that death rate may be significantly lower because many cases are asymptomatic.
“While most people exposed to the bacteria do not become ill, Legionnaires’ Disease can cause serious illness or be fatal for those at higher risk, including those with pre-existing chronic health conditions,” said Dr Ashwin Vasan, Commissioner for Health at the National Health Service. city, in a statement last month.
“That’s why it’s crucial that you seek care as soon as you get flu-like symptoms.”
Symptoms of the virus often initially resemble those of either the common flu or a mild form of COVID-19.
This puts additional pressure on city health centers as officials recommend that people who feel mildly ill be tested not only for Covid but also the bacterial infection.
Human-to-human transmission of legionnaires is not considered possible.
A new public health emergency comes at the worst time for the Big Apple.
The city’s daily Covid infection rates are once again approaching 4,000 a day, continuing a gradual rise in the months since the winter Omicron wave ended.
However, deaths from the virus have remained low and have remained in the single digits since March.
However, Monkeypox has also arrived in town, with the Big Apple logging four of a total of 21 cases in the US — the most of any individual place in America.