The authorities of the New York City Health Department are currently on alert due to the outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in South Bronx. A total of 31 morbidities have been recorded since July 10, 2015. Two mortalities with the disease have been noted in these area and the health officials are investigating whether such cases were related to the outbreak.
Part of the health department's investigations is the examination of water coming from cooling towers and other possible points of supply so as to identify the main source of the outbreak. Meanwhile, the health officials are encouraging the citizens of New York, who have been experiencing cough, fever, chills and muscle pain, to seek medical consult from a qualified health professional immediately.
"We are concerned about this unusual increase in Legionnaires' disease cases in the South Bronx," says Dr. Mary Bassett, the health commissioner. The department is currently conducting swift interventions to determine the root cause of the problem and they expect the public to cooperate by not delaying medical consults should signs and symptoms appear.
The latest outbreak can be considered as the biggest one that the city has ever experienced during the last two years. This is also the second outbreak of the disease for 2015, which all the more plagued the already health-stricken area of Bronx. Health issues such as asthma, diabetes, and obesity are common in this borough. From December 2014 to January 2015, 12 cases of Legionnaires' disease were reported in Bronx and out of that number, 8 live in the east Bronx. In April and May 2015, 10 more patients were diagnosed in Queens.
"We'll have a lot more information in the next day as the disease detectives do their work," said city mayor Bill de Blasio. In the meantime, he also urges the public to have themselves checked by a specialist or emergency room staff when clinical manifestations of the disease start showing up. Acting early is better than contracting the disease, he adds. The disease can be treated and the signs and symptoms can be alleviated faster if consultation is made promptly.
Legionnaires' disease is caused by the bacteria Legionella and is characterized by headache, loss of appetite, diarrhea, headache and confusion. Once exposed to the bacteria, the clinical manifestations will begin to appear after two to 10 days. The bacteria cannot be transmitted through person-to-person contact, rather through exposure to products of contaminated plumbing systems, spas, humidifiers, cooling towers and hot water tanks as these places are conducive for the growth of the bacteria.
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