The citizens of New York City are perplexed at the moment because the area is facing one of the largest disease outbreaks in the recent history, which is the Legionnaires Disease.
The mayor of NYC held a press conference recently to assure people that things are under control and necessary steps are being taken to ensure that it doesn’t spread further. According to the latest reports, over 86 people have been diagnosed of carrying legionnaire bacteria, which they have acquired through contaminated water. However, the disease doesn’t spread when someone drinks the water, but when a person inhales the bacteria.
After thorough research, it was identified that the cooling towers in the city were the major cause of this outbreak. Five of them were identified to be using water contaminated by the said bacteria and they have been decontaminated, reported officials from the New York Health Department. The team spent hours removing the water, clean and flush it multiple times before allowing the towers to be used again. The disease can also spread through showers, pools and fountains.
The team confirmed that they are analyzing water samples sourced from various locations in the city, especially those located around the Bronx. If a positive infection is identified, it will either be decontaminated or temporarily stalled to avoid legionnaire from becoming an epidemic.
The health officials also confirmed that the eight people who have died due to the disease were affected by various other diseases and were old citizens. No deaths have been reported so far and over 50 people have been hospitalized for further treatment in special units, while 26 people have been treated and allowed to go home.
The New York Health Department assured the people in the Bronx and NYC that they have been taking necessary steps to ensure that the legionnaires disease doesn’t spread further. They have been spending a majority of their time talking to health experts, doctors and communities to cut down the disease from its source.
Discussing about the outbreak, an infectious disease experts Dr. William Schaffner and Dr. Stephen Morse said that while the government officials and health experts are focusing on contaminated water, the disease could also spread through air and emerge in unexpected locations.
“While it is obvious that the bacteria thrive in moist locations, including air conditioners, pools and cooling towers, they originally emerge from the environment and spread through water. It might be surprising, but soon they will find it in locations where people never reported in sick despite the bacteria’s presence”, said Morse.