HealthDay News — Health officials say they are trying to track down the source of 10 reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease within a one-mile radius in a Long Island, New York, neighborhood.
The patients range in age from 35 to 96 years. As of Saturday, one had died, two remained hospitalized, and seven had been released from the hospital, CBS News reported. Contact tracing is being conducted, in addition to swabbing and on-site sampling in an effort to identify the cause of the outbreak. No cases have been linked to school buildings and the neighborhood’s drinking water is safe, according to Nassau County Health Commissioner Lawrence Eisenstein, M.D., CBS News reported. “We have a whole team of inspectors now walking the neighborhood immediately around the houses,” Eisenstein said.
New York has seen an increase in Legionella bacteria statewide due to warm weather, according to CBS News.
Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease typically begin two to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria and include shortness of breath, high fever, cough, muscle aches, and headache, CBS News reported. The disease usually lasts two to five days and can range from a mild cough to a “rapidly fatal” case of pneumonia, according to the World Health Organization. Complications from the disease can include respiratory failure, shock, and acute kidney failure. Those older than 50 years, current and past smokers, those with chronic lung disease, and immunocompromised people are at higher risk for developing Legionnaires’ disease, the Nassau County Department of Health said.
Legionnaires’ disease is typically treated with antibiotics. The death rate ranges from 5 to 10 percent. In 2018, there were nearly 10,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease reported in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.