New Legionnaires' disease cluster found in the Bronx

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Legionella bacteria (CDC image)

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City health officials are monitoring a new cluster of Legionnaires' disease cases in the Bronx.

Officials announced Monday that seven cases have been diagnosed in the borough's Morris Park neighborhood.

They say the cases are not connected to a Legionnaires' outbreak in the Bronx this summer that claimed 12 lives.

That outbreak, the largest in the city's history, was traced to Legionella bacteria in the cooling tower of the Opera House Hotel.

Officials said the first case of the new cluster was reported on Sept. 21. No fatalities have been reported.

The city created new cooling tower cleaning regulations after the previous outbreak.

Officials said New York City sees about 200 to 300 cases of Legionnaires' disease a year. The disease cannot be spread from person to person.



Signs and Symptoms

Legionnaires' disease can have symptoms like many other forms of pneumonia, so it can be hard to diagnose at first. Signs of Legionnaires' disease can include:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • High fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches


These symptoms usually begin 2 to 10 days after being exposed to the bacteria, but people should watch for symptoms for about 2 weeks after exposure.

Questions and Answers

Q: Is legionellosis (Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever) reportable?

A: Yes, legionellosis is a nationally notifiable disease, so any case that is lab-confirmed should be reported to CDC by state health departments. However, not every case is immediately reported to CDC. The best source of information specific to individual cases or situations is the local or state health department where the patient lives. However, there is usually very limited information released about case identities in order to protect their privacy.

Q: Can CDC confirm if there are legionellosis cases in my state?

A: The best course of action is to contact your local or state health department for the most up-to-date information. Unless CDC has been contacted by the health department, we are unlikely to be immediately aware of local cases. However, we can answer questions about legionellosis in general.

Q: When does CDC get involved in responding to outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever?

A: State and local health departments have jurisdiction over outbreaks in their state. States may invite CDC to assist with an investigation when additional expertise, capacity, or resources are needed. For information about a current outbreak, contact the state or local health department where the outbreak has occurred. For cruise ship outbreaks involving U.S. citizens and ports of call in the United States, CDC has jurisdiction over the response.

Q: How many cases of Legionnaires’ disease occur each year?

A: CDC estimates that between 8,000 and 18,000 people are hospitalized with Legionnaires' disease in the United States each year. However, only about 3,000 cases are reported to CDC each year.