The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is currently investigating an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that has been linked to 31 reported cases and two deaths to prevent the further spread of Legionella.

Since July 10th, an unusual increase in Legionnaire’s disease cases has been seen in the South Bronx of NYC. The Health Department is testing water from cooling towers and other potential sources to determine the source of the outbreak. Legionella thrives in warm water such as these towers, hot tubs, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems, and decorative fountains; it cannot be transmitted from person-to-person.

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Clinicians should be advised that patients with chronic lung diseases and compromised immune systems are at a greater risk of Legionnaire’s disease, as well as smokers and those taking immunosuppressants. The incubation period is 2–14 days after exposure and clinical features include pneumonia, cough, and fever and the preferred treatment follows the Infectious Diseases Society of America/American Thoracic Society Consensus guidelines on the management of community-acquired pneumonia.

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