Nearly four dozen people have gotten sick amid what the Health Department has described as an "unusual" spike in Legionnaires' disease in the Bronx, officials said Thursday, adding 15 cases to the total authorities gave a day earlier in announcing the deadly outbreak.
Forty-six cases of the disease, a severe, often lethal, form of pneumonia spread through the air, have been reported in the south Bronx since July 10, city officials said Thursday. Two of the 46 patients, a man and a woman in their 50s, have died from the illness; authorities say they had other lung problems as well as Legionnaires'. Their identities have not been released.
Legionnaires' disease is caused by exposure to the bacteria Legionella; in most cases, people are exposed to the bacteria by inhaling contaminated aerosols from cooling towers, hot tubs, showers and faucets or drinking water.
Since the cases are widely dispersed — as in they're not clustered in one or two buildings —authorities do not believe the outbreak is connected to any contaminated drinking water, Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said at a news briefing Thursday.
Number of Legionnaires' Cases Rises Amid Deadly Outbreak in NYC: Officials
Updated at 10:41 AM EDT on Friday, Jul 31, 2015