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Number of Legionnaires' cases rising in US

The incidence of Legionnaires’ disease in the US is increasing and, overall, cases of the disease in the city of New York increased 230% between 2002 and 2009, according to a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A CDC study revealed that New Yorkers living in poverty are at a higher risk from the potentially fatal infection.

The findings of the nine-year study Legionnaires’ Disease Incidence and Risk Factors, New York, USA show a strong link between poverty and the disease, with those New Yorkers living in the most deprived areas 2.5 times more likely to contract Legionnaires’ than those in the least deprived areas.

The strong association between poverty and Legionnaires’ disease could be attributed to a number of factors, including environment and housing and underlying health issues.

London Legionella expert Rob Boon said: “It is absolutely shocking to see that cases of Legionnaires’ disease in one of the most illustrious cities in the world has jumped 230% in recent years.

“Outbreaks can be easily prevented, so it is saddening to realise there is a connection between poverty and contracting the disease in the US. City authorities, commercial organisations and landlords need to urgently address this matter to minimise the risk.”

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