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Health Department investigating two cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the Bronx

THE BRONX — The Health Department is currently investigating two cases of Legionnaires’ disease in a residential building in the Bronx, officials told PIX11 News on Saturday.

Officials said tenants can still use and drink water “but tenants at higher risk of getting Legionnaires’ disease will be advised to take additional precautions.”

The Health Department is scheduled to inspect the internal plumbing supply in the affected building, but officials say they do not consider this an outbreak or to be related to cooling towers at this time.

“Both patients have risks for Legionnaires’ disease and have been discharged from the hospital. The Health Department will evaluate the building’s plumbing to look for evidence of Legionella bacteria in the building’s water system,” officials said.

Patients can contract Legionnaires’ disease, a serious type of pneumonia, when they breathe in small, airborne droplets of water that contain the bacteria, which can grow in a building’s water system.

Most cases of Legionnaires’ disease can be traced to plumbing systems where conditions are favorable for Legionella growth, such as cooling towers, whirlpool spas, hot tubs, humidifiers, hot water tanks, and evaporative condensers of large air-conditioning systems.

Health officials said the two cases in the Bronx are “not considered an outbreak or related ted to cooling towers.”

Legionnaires’ disease is a treatable using antibiotics for pneumonia. Every year, there are between 200 and 500 cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the city, according to health officials.

Symptoms include fever, cough, chills, muscle aches, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, confusion and diarrhea. Symptoms usually appear two to 10 days after significant exposure to Legionella bacteria.

Legionnaires’ disease can be deadly, but is treatable with antibiotics. Most people get better with early treatment, although they may need to be hospitalized. Others have died from complications of the disease.

Legionnaires’ disease cannot be spread from person to person. Groups at highest risk for Legionnaires’ disease include people who are middle-aged or older, especially cigarette smokers, people with chronic lung disease or weakened immune systems and people who take medicines that weaken their immune systems (immunosuppressive drugs). Those with symptoms should call their doctor and ask about testing for Legionnaires’ disease.