Legionnaires' cases reported at NYCHA complex

Legionnaires' cases reported at NYCHA complex

The state announced the Legionnaires' Disease "cluster" last weekend with four initial cases. The hotels remain open. Others have died from complications of the disease. Twelve people have been hospitalized.

Another update is expected on Tuesday.

Legionnaires' disease is caused by a bacteria known as Legionella, which is commonly found in the natural environment, including freshwater, groundwater and the soil. This pathogen was discovered in 1976 when it infected more than 200 people and killed 34 because air conditioning vents spread the bacteria through the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia during an American Legion convention.

Those who've been in the Guildford in the past 10 days and who show pneumonia symptoms (fever, fatigue, cough, shortness of breath) are advised to seek medical attention.

Officials believe the current overall health risk to the community is low. It can not be passed from person to person contact. Most healthy people do not get Legionnaires' disease from being exposed to Legionella.

Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there were 6,100 cases in 2016.

The investigation will continue throughout the Labor Day weekend, including additional environmental testing and conducting interviews and re-interviews with the individuals who contracted the disease. There is no vaccine.

It's also advising anyone who has developed pneumonia-like symptoms and who is at higher risk, such as smokers, the elderly or people with chronic lung conditions, to visit a doctor. People who take drugs that weaken their immune system, such as chemotherapy, or suffer from underlying illnesses like diabetes, kidney failure, or liver failure, are also at a greater risk.