State and federal health officials are on scene in the Bronx this week investigating an outbreak of Legionnaires‘ disease, that has now sicked 100 people and contributed to 10 deaths.
In a press conference, Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters: “We remain confident that the source is among the five locations that were identified and remediated.” However, he said, the city is taking additional precautionary steps, including ordering “anyone who owns or manages or otherwise controls a building with a cooling tower … to test and disinfect their cooling tower within the next 14 days.”
The city is offering free testing for any cooling towers or evaporative condenser units that can be sources of the bacteria.
Meanwhile, New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker is working with officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Bronx this week to test several buildings in the city and assist with clinician response.
New Yorkers with respiratory symptoms, such as fever, cough, chills and muscle aches, are advised to promptly seek medical attention.
On average, the state reports about 540 patients with Legionnaires’ per year, according to a statement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“This year we have cases presented in Erie and Cortland Counties, as well as Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx. So this is not a new phenomenon,” Cuomo said. “However, it is also true that the outbreak in the Bronx is the largest in history. We want to treat the current victims, stop it from spreading now, and take precautions to make sure it doesn’t happen again. “