A large grouping of Legionella pneumophila bacteria (Legionnaires’ disease) is pictured.
Here we go again.
The South Bronx is once again at the center of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak, with a cluster of seven new cases in the borough’s Morris Park section.
None of the cases have been fatal, and the victims — who range in age from 45 to 75 years old — all had preexisting health conditions that made them vulnerable to the potentially deadly disease.
Authorities did not identify any other details of the victims, citing patient confidentiality.
Officials say the latest cluster of cases is not related to the deadly Legionnaires’ outbreak over the summer, which killed 12 people and sickened more than 100.
That outbreak was the largest in the city’s history.
The summer outbreak began after the disease bacteria spread from cooling towers, but officials don’t know what caused these recent cases.
“The Department is taking immediate steps to determine the source and protect the people who live and work in Morris Park,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett.
She urged anyone experiencing Legionnaires’ symptoms — including fever, cough, headache, or difficulty breathing — to “seek care immediately.”
The first case in the latest cluster was identified on Sept. 21. and the last one was on Sunday.
Officials said the city typically has between two and seven clusters of Legionnaire’ cases a year, and that the number of confirmed cases of the disease has grown dramatically in the past 15 years throughout the country.
That’s due in part to better testing as well as the growth of elderly people overall in the population.
In addition to the elderly, people with chronic lung disease and weakened immune systems are also often at risk for the disease, which is spread through bacteria.
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