Legionnaires' disease cluster in Queens

- New York City health officials are investigating a cluster of Legionnaires' disease in downtown Flushing, Queens.

A dozen patients have been confirmed with Legionnaires' disease in the neighborhood in the past two weeks, according to the Health Department. Most of them had serious underlying health conditions. Five people are recovering in hospitals, seven were treated and discharged, and no one has died, officials said. Two more patients might be part of the cluster.

"I urge individuals in this area with respiratory symptoms to seek medical attention right away," Dr. Mary Bassett, the health commissioner, said in a statement. "As with our previous Legionnaires' disease investigations, we are in the process of investigating the source of the cluster and are working with building owners in the area to rapidly test and clean cooling towers."

Bassett added that people 50 and older and those with compromised immune systems are at a heightened risk.

Exposure to Legionella bacteria causes Legionnaires' disease. Symptoms can include fever, chills, muscle aches, and cough, which are similar to flu symptoms. Some patients also experience headaches, fatigue, loss of appetite, confusion, or diarrhea.

Legionnaires' disease is not contagious.

In 2015, an outbreak in the South Bronx killed 12 and infected more than 120.

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