Speed Reads

public health

2 die in NYC during Legionnaires' disease outbreak

In New York City, two people have died in a Legionnaires' disease outbreak, with 31 cases reported in the South Bronx since mid-July.

In the Bronx, water cooling towers at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center and a commercial complex have tested positive for the disease, Capital New York reports. Legionnaires' disease is a respiratory bacterial infection that is not transmitted from person to person but rather through water mist from showers, cooling towers, and air conditioning. A 1976 outbreak in Philadelphia, which mostly affected people attending an American Legion convention, led to its name. Symptoms include fever, chills, and a cough, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says that five to 30 percent of those who come down with the disease die.

Officials will test the water from other potential sources in the area, CNN reports, but Dr. Mary Bassett, commissioner of the New York City Health Department, said the city's water supply "does not pose a risk, so people should continue to feel confident in drinking tap water to stay cool during this period of hot weather." Mayor Bill de Blasio recommends that those who have symptoms get tested, and assured the public that most New Yorkers are not at risk