- Associated Press - Thursday, December 1, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The New Mexico Department of Health is investigating a cluster of Legionnaires’ disease cases.

The agency announced Thursday that it has identified six patients from Chaves County with confirmed Legionnaires’ disease since the first week of October.

Two of the six patients have died - a 69-year-old woman and a 65-year-old woman. But authorities say all six had other health issues that increased the risk of infection.

State health officials are working to determine the source of the bacterial infections that can cause pneumonia.

Outbreak investigations of Legionnaires’ disease focus on where patients may have been exposed to contaminated water in the 14 days before onset of illness.

The bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease was first identified in 1976 when people attending an American Legion convention in Philadelphia developed pneumonia.

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