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Tackling the NY Legionella Outbreak

The recent cases of Legionnaire's Disease brings up the need for a new solution for an old problem.

In recent days, eight people in New York have contracted and have died from exposure to Legionnaire’s Disease which was present in the cooling systems of various buildings in the Bronx. Additionally, 97 people were hospitalized after testing positive for the disease, with some continuing to receive care.

Legionnaire's Disease, or Legionellosis, was first detected after a 1976 outbreak at the Philadelphia American Legion Convention. This first outbreak was responsible for 240 confirmed cases and a total of 34 deaths, although at the time, no one was aware of the disease or the water-borne bacteria that caused the outbreak. Since this tragic event, a tremendous amount of research has been dedicated to the identification and control of Legionella bacteria. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 8,000 to 18,000 Americans develop Legionellosis each year. Unfortunately, most cases go undetected as they are misdiagnosed as pneumonia. In New York alone, it is estimated that more than over 200 cases of Legionellosis occur each year.

Both government and private institutions have worked to develop guidelines to control the development and management of the bacteria but it has not been enough to ultimately stop the spread of Legionnaire’s disease. What can you do?

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