August 4, 2015 UPDATE
New York Health Officials announced Monday evening that an additional three people failed to recover from their infections over the weekend, while 10 additional cases of Legionnaires’ Disease were confirmed, bringing the total to seven dead and 81 infected. Officials also announced that all five contaminated buildings have been fully cleaned and additional cases of infection are expected to taper down.
New York City Health Officials have confirmed 71 cases of Legionnaires’ Disease within the South Bronx and we at SelectCare have received a number of questions from both our clients and staff regarding this outbreak.
We aim to answer a few basic questions about the current outbreak and will follow up with a more in-depth discussion of the disease through our company blog.
The Current Situation
Health officials have found 71 cases of Legionnaires Disease, resulting in four deaths. Those infections have been traced back to five locations in the South Bronx: Concourse Plaza, Lincoln Hospital, The Opera House Hotel, The Streamline Plastics Company, and a Verizon office at 117 E. 167St. Please be advised that these locations have been decontaminated and declared safe as of Monday, 8/3/2015.
While the situation appears to be contained, there will be a town hall meeting held tonight, from 6pm to 8pm, at the Bronx Museum of the Arts (1040 Grand Concourse) where health and city officials can answer additional questions.
Legionnaires’ Disease is a bacterial infection that favors water-based systems in buildings, like central air conditioning, cooling towers, decorative fountains or any other water system where previously stagnant water might be inhaled.
People become infected when water droplets carrying the bacteria are inhaled into their lungs. Those infected typically show symptoms 2 to 10 days after exposure, though there have been rare cases of symptoms appearing as long as 20 days after exposure. It is important to note that Legionnaires’ Disease cannot be transmitted from person to person.
Symptoms are similar to pneumonia: fever, chills, and coughing are common. Coughing may or may not produce mucus or include small amounts of blood. Additionally, about half of people infected might experience gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting, some patients also display confusion, limited cognition and increased tiredness.
Prognosis and Treatment
If you or a loved one is showing these symptoms and has spent any time at any of the five locations listed above, it is recommended that you speak to your doctor for further testing.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, fatality rates during outbreaks varies, with between 5% and 30% of those infected succumbing to the disease. Outbreaks with lower fatality rates are attributed to better public information campaigns, which result in infected individuals seeking treatment before the disease takes a more serious turn.
While the disease can have a negative impact on people at any age or in any condition, regular smokers, people with chronic lung conditions, people with weak immune systems and those 50 and older are most at risk for serious complications. If any of these factors apply to you and you begin to show the above listed symptoms, you should contact a doctor immediately for treatment.
Health officials have published a basic FAQ with additional information.
If you have any additional questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact SelectCare at any time to speak with our staff of home care experts. We value the safety of our clients and caregivers above all else and stand ready to assist you in any way possible.