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Dozens sickened amid 'unusual' outbreak in NYC

Computerized rendering of Legionaires' disease bacteria.
PASIEKA | Getty Images
Computerized rendering of Legionaires' disease bacteria.

The New York City Health Department is investigating a deadly new outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease, a particularly severe form of pneumonia, which has already killed two people in the Bronx.

Some 31 new cases have been reported since July 10, but health officials have yet to determine a source of the outbreak, according to a Health Department press release.

"We are concerned about this unusual increase in Legionnaires' disease cases in the South Bronx," said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett. "We are conducting a swift investigation to determine the source of the outbreak and prevent future cases."

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Officials urged anyone suffering from symptoms such as fever, cough, or chills, which can appear two to 10 days after exposure to Legionella bacteria, to seek medical attention.

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The Health Department said it is testing water from cooling towers and other sources in the area but emphasized the disease, which more strongly effects cigarette smokers and the elderly, cannot be spread from person to person.

New York City has had a problem with the bacteria before, seeing 120 recorded cases in 2005 and 180 more in 2006.