Legionellosis – United States
Nine people diagnosed with Legionellosis in a Manhattan, New York neighborhood.
The source of the legionella bacteria is unknown but health officials are inspecting water towers in central Harlem. Patients experience symptoms including fever, chills, muscle aches, and cough.
All nine cases have been hospitalized, seven of which are over 50 years old. No deaths have been reported.
Photo: Electron micrograph of L. pneumophila, responsible for over 90% of Legionnaire disease cases.
Legionnaires’ disease is a form of atypical pneumonia caused by any species of Legionella bacteria. Signs and symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, high fever, muscle pains, and headaches. The symptoms often begins 2–10 days after exposure.
The bacterium is found naturally in fresh water. It can contaminate hot water tanks, hot tubs, and cooling towers of large air conditioners. It is usually spread by breathing in mist that contains the bacteria.
It typically does not spread directly between people, and most people who are exposed do not become infected.
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