Seven people have died following the largest outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in New York City for three years – with health officials warning that more cases are expected, Sky News has reported.
An estimated 65 cases have been reported in the Bronx over the past three weeks.
Investigators say they have identified the source of the outbreak, and five cooling towers have now been cleaned by the city’s Health Department.
However, anyone who has been living or working near those towers in recent weeks may still be at risk of exposure.
In a statement, the Health Department said it was concerned about the “unusual increase” in instances of Legionnaires’ disease.
This year, 2,400 cases have been reported nationwide – but New York City has come under particular scrutiny, as the number of Legionnaires cases has trebled in the past decade.
“New Yorkers with respiratory symptoms, such as fever, cough, chills and muscle aches, are advised to promptly seek medical attention,” it added.
It can take up to 10 days for the symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease to appear after water infected with Legionella bacteria is inhaled into the lungs – and sufferers can also experience fatigue, a loss of appetite, confusion, diarrhoea and headaches.
Health officials are stressing that the disease cannot be passed from person to person.
Despite this, many New Yorkers are taking precautions nonetheless – switching from tap water to bottled water for fear of contamination.
2015 Combatting Legionella & Water Treatment conference
The 12th Annual Combatting Legionella & Water Treatment conference will take place on 29-30 September at Aston Villa Park in Birmingham.
A comprehensive and cutting-edge event, the conference ensures engineering and facilities management teams are able to prevent legionella bacteria from developing and comply with water safety regulations.