3 infected with Legionnaires' disease at New Jersey senior center

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- City leaders and health officials are working to ease fears and concerns about three cases of Legionnaires' disease discovered at a senior center in Newark.

The mayor and health commissioner spoke out Friday about the cases reported at the center on Nevada Street.

They said one case was reported in December and two more were reported in April -- all three cases involved residents in the building.

"It becomes more dangerous for folks that are elderly and iimmunodeficient so it is very important for us to deal with it now, particularly since this is a senior building," Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said.

All of the victims have recovered and are said to be doing fine.

RELATED: What is Legionnaires' disease?

The health director said those seniors with compromised immune systems should be careful and go to the doctor to be tested if they are experiencing fever, chills, muscle aches and flu symptoms.

"I want to reassure the residents that one, you can't even become infected by touching someone, you can't become infected just because you're in the area, it's breathing the droplets," Newark Health and Wellness Director Mark Wade said.

Officials are still working to figure out the source of the bacteria.

The state health department will begin testing the water system in the building on Monday. Residents are urged to avoid showers and turning up the water pressure in faucets.

Legionnaires' disease is caused when water tainted with a certain bacteria is inhaled into the lungs. It can be treated with antibiotics, but in some cases it can lead to pneumonia in the elderly.

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