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Legionnaires' disease claims another in the Bronx

Legionnaires' disease is a severe form of pneumonia

Legionnaires' disease is a severe form of pneumonia caused by a type of bacteria called Legionella, according to the CDC. This colorized scanning electron micrograph with moderately-high magnification depicts a large grouping of Gram-negative Legionella pneumophila bacteria. Credit: Wikimedia Commons / CDC

Legionnaires' disease has been blamed for taking the life of another patient in the Bronx -- the first death since a summer flare-up in the borough that caused 12 fatalities and sickened 116 other people, New York City officials said.

The latest cluster, focused in the Morris Park section of the Bronx, has sickened 13 people, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said yesterday.

Of the 13 latest cases, 11 are patients who remain in the hospital, and all the people had underlying health conditions that left them prone to infection, the health department said. The onset dates were all before Sept. 21, when the first case in the new cluster was diagnosed, the health department said.

The July-August outbreak that infected 128 was later linked to a South Bronx boutique hotel. Between 200 and 300 people are sickened with Legionnaires every year in more isolated cases in New York City, according to health department statistics.

Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the Morris Park Association, a senior center in Morris Park, and said the latest outbreak is more "limited" and "different" from the summer's, according to a pool report.

"Now the good news of that is none of those cases are new since September 21. This is very, very important," he said.

"We're going to be very vigilant, be very careful," the mayor said.

Tests of cooling towers -- the suspected culprits being blamed for spreading the disease through air mists -- have come back positive for the bacteria at locations including a Chase bank, Lehman High School and Einstein College, a medical school.

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