8 confirmed dead from Legionnaires' disease, 97 cases now reported in NYC

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, August 5, 2015

SOUTH BRONX, N.Y. (WABC) -- An eighth person has died from Legionnaires' disease in New York City as the number of cases grows to 97.

Mayor Bill de Blasio made it a point to say that if anyone in the affected area experiences any of the symptoms, they should go to the doctor right away to get checked out.

Tuesday he said the number of cases is slowing, though, and presented a chart showing the number of cases over time. The outbreak started July 10.

The mayor went on to say that the likely source of the outbreak -- cooling towers -- are not the obvious visible water towers. These are units that can't easily be seen.

Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said the disease is spread through mist that comes from the cooling towers, which is then exposed to the community around the towers.

"In the process of cooling a building, the towers emit warm mist that can contain bacteria," said Bassett.

According to Bassett, it's safe inside the buildings. It's believed that this outbreak is due to community exposure from the mist.

"It is not contagious. It cannot be passed from person to person. And there is no risk to our drinking water. There is no risk to our water supply from Legionnaires' disease," de Blasio said.

The bacteria was discovered at five different sites in the South Bronx since officials starting trying to find the source of the outbreak, and de Blasio said all involved in the search for the source believe it's connected to one or more of these five towers.

"We're determined to do everything in our power to minimize possibility of this ever happening again," de Blasio said. "We are going to be very aggressive in dealing with this problem."

Keep checking abc7NY for the latest on this developing story.

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