According to a press release by the mayors office the largest outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease ever to occur in New York City has claimed two more lives according to officials, 113 cases of the disease has so far been reported and 12 people have died, the mortality rate of the disease is more than 10 percent.
The source of the infection is thought to be the cooling towers of buildings and so far 18 of have tested possible for the bacteria causing the disease.
The outbreak is the city’s most serious public health crisis since the Ebola incidents of last year. The disease has spread for more than a month affecting the elderly and people with serious health issues the hardest. The outbreak is concentrated in South Bronx which is one of the city’s poorest neighbourhoods.
It is the first time the city has had an outbreak of the disease of this magnitude, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio stated “We are dealing with a new set of realities we have never experienced that we have never encountered before in this city,” and added that the city had to create procedures as they went along to contain the epidemic.
According to officials the majority of the deceased was over 40 and all had serious underlying health problems. The disease has an incubation period of 10 days causing a delay in reporting of new cases. No new cases has been reported since August 3.
Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious, it is transmitted by inhalation of aerosolized water or soil contaminated with the Legionella bacteria. The disease is not airborne and only a handful of incidents of transmission by direct contact between water and wounds has been reported.