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Legionnaires’ Disease Cases Reported On Long Island

Legionnaires' Disease
Legionnaires' Disease Photo Credit: Public Health Image Library.

Health officials are investigating a reported outbreak of Legionnaires' disease on Long Island that left one dead and hospitalized 10.

There have been nearly a dozen confirmed cases within a one-mile radius in Nassau County between Wantagh Avenue and Old Jerusalem Road on the Levittown-Wantagh border, officials announced.

At least one person has died from Legionnaires' and two others remain hospitalized amid the outbreak. Seven others have been discharged after being treated.

Each of the cases was reported in the past two weeks.

Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include fever, chills, muscle aches, and a cough. One may also have headaches, fatigue, loss of appetite, confusion, or diarrhea.

"People at higher risk of becoming ill with Legionnaires’ disease are those 50 years of age or older, current of former smokers, those with chronic lung disease, those with a weakened immune system, and people who take immunosuppressant medications," Nassau County Department of Health officials stated.

According to the CDC, “after Legionella grows and multiplies in a building water system, water containing Legionella then has to spread in droplets small enough for people to breathe in. People can get Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever when they breathe in small droplets of water in the air that contains the bacteria.

“Less commonly, people can get sick by aspiration of drinking water containing Legionella. This happens when water accidentally goes into the lungs while drinking. People at increased risk of aspiration include those with swallowing difficulties.”

Officials said that the number of cases being reported in New York is similar to the rate in years past.

“The New York State Department of Health is providing technical assistance and guidance to the Nassau County Department of Health during their investigation of ten Legionella cases," department spokesperson Sam Fuld in a statement.

"The numbers for 2021 are consistent with numbers we have seen in previous years as there are typically between 350 and 800 cases diagnosed annually in New York State. It’s important for New Yorkers to know Legionella is not spread person-to-person."

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