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Legionnaires' Disease Outbreak Hits Long Island, N.Y.

HealthDay News
by Robert Preidt and Robin Foster
Updated: Oct 18th 2021

new article illustration

MONDAY, Oct. 18, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Health officials say they are trying to track down the source of 10 reported cases of Legionnaires' disease within a one-mile radius in a Long Island, N.Y., neighborhood.

The patients range in age from 35 to 96. As of Saturday, one had died, two remained hospitalized and seven had been released from the hospital, CBS News reported.

Legionnaires is a rare form of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria, sometimes found in fountains, spray parks, hot tubs, showers and faucets. People can contract the disease by breathing in a mist or vapor containing the bacteria. The disease is not spread from person to person, the Nassau County Department of Health said.

Contact tracing is being conducted, as well as swabbing and on-site sampling in an effort to identify the cause of the outbreak.

No cases have been linked to school buildings and the neighborhood's drinking water is safe, according to Nassau County Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein, CBS News reported.

"We have a whole team of inspectors now walking the neighborhood immediately around the houses," Eisenstein said.

New York has seen an increase in Legionella bacteria statewide due to warm weather, according to CBS News.

Symptoms of Legionnaires typically begin between two to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria and include shortness of breath, high fever, cough, muscle aches and headache, CBS News reported. The disease usually lasts between two to five days and can range from a mild cough to a "rapidly fatal" case of pneumonia, according to the World Health Organization. Complications from the disease can include respiratory failure, shock and acute kidney failure.

Those over 50, current and past smokers, those with chronic lung disease and immunocompromised people are at higher risk of developing Legionnaires, the Nassau County Department of Health said.

Legionnaires is typically treated with antibiotics. The death rate ranges from 5% to 10%. In 2018, there were nearly 10,000 cases of Legionnaires reported in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More information

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on Legionnaire's disease.


SOURCE: CBS News