- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 5, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - Another person has died from an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, bringing the death toll to eight, city health officials said Wednesday.

Ninety-seven people have been diagnosed with the disease, which is caused when water contaminated with a certain bacteria is inhaled into the lungs. The eight people who died were older and had other medical problems.

Officials said the city’s outbreak has been traced to cooling towers, which can release mist, in the South Bronx. Five towers in the area tested positive for legionella bacteria and have since been decontaminated.

Lawmakers are working on legislation they say could help prevent another such outbreak.

Building owners would be required to register the locations of cooling towers with the city. There also will be a schedule of mandatory inspections, plus rules mandating prompt disinfection if bacteria are found.

This type of regulation is rare in the U.S. but has existed for years in other countries. Quebec, Canada, instituted similar rules after a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Quebec City in 2012.

Health officials say Legionnaires’ disease is easily diagnosed and treated with antibiotics but can pose a serious risk to anyone with an underlying medical condition. There have been 2,400 cases nationwide this year.


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