Four people have lost their battle with Legionnaires’ disease following the biggest outbreak of the sickness in the past three years in New York City.
Thus far, New York Health Department officials estimate that there have been 65 cases over the last three weeks. Investigators said they identified the bacteria’s source and the Health Department cleaned five cooling towers in the Bronx.
However, anyone who lived near or was working close to any of the five towers over the past few weeks, might still be at some risk.
In a prepared statement, the New York Department of Health said it was still concerned about an unusual increase in the number of instances of the disease.
In just the first six months of 2015, there have been 2,400 cases reported across the country, but New York City has been under scrutiny as a overall number of cases of Legionnaires’ during the past decade had more than tripled.
The health department’s statement also said that people in New York that have respiratory symptoms such as cough, chills, fever and body aches, should seek medical attention promptly.
It can take as many as 10 days for symptoms of the disease to present themselves after water that was infected with Legionella bacteria becomes inhaled into the lungs. People with the disease can also experience loss of appetite, diarrhea, headaches, confusion and fatigue.
Health officials have stressed that Legionnaires’ disease is not able to be passed from human to human.
Despite that fact, many people in New York are taking extra precautions nonetheless by switching to bottled water from their regular tap water out of a fear of becoming contaminated.