More people are getting sick and dying due to the latest Legionnaires' disease outbreak in New York.

People are therefore greatly encouraged to seek medical attention in cases of respiratory symptoms like cough, chills, fever and muscle aches.

From July 10 to July 27, 31 cases have been reported, according to New York's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The count continues to rise.

On July 31, health officials confirmed the third fatality in South Bronx. The outbreak has caused 57 people to become ill, of which 42 have been hospitalized and 19 patients have already been released; however, health officials warn New Yorkers to be more careful, so as not to attract the airborne disease. They are investigating the deaths and testing water from potential sources of the bacteria to find out where the outbreak has come from.

Legionnaires' disease, which springs about during the hottest weeks of the year, is caused by Legionella, a type of bacteria that spreads out more in warm water. Cooling towers, plumbing systems, hot water tanks, decorative fountains and even hot tubs may cause the sudden growth of the bacteria.

A person who has caught the disease may exhibit signs and symptoms of coughing, fever, shortness of breath and muscle and headaches. The CDC says, however, that he signs and symptoms are similar to those seen in patients with pneumonia. Best to check with your physician to be sure, health authorities advise.

For a person diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease, Antibiotics best kill bacteria in the body. Except in cases where a patient is experiencing Pontiac fever, antibiotics can successfully treat healthy patients who became ill because of Legionnaires'.

Pontiac fever is actually different from Legionnaires' disease, but is also caused by the same Legionella bacteria. This type of fever exhibits the same signs and symptoms that last for two to five days. This milder infection goes away without any sort of treatment.

People aged 50 and up are more likely to catch the disease than those younger. There's also a greater risk for current and former smokers, and people with weak immune systems. Diseases like diabetes or cancer, and medications that make the immune system weak should also be considered as a potential risk to the disease.

While the bacteria are continuously spreading, it is important to be informed about Legionella and know what to do to prevent catching the disease.

Maintaining clean water systems best help in preventing the illness. Especially in public hot tubs, the use of disinfectants is a simple but greatly preventive measure against Legionnaires'.

Even when the disease cannot be spread from one person to another, health officials alert New Yorkers to be mindful of their surroundings, and take the necessary steps to know more about the disease and how to prevent it.

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