Transcript for NYC Legionnaires' Outbreak Death Toll Increases
outbreak of deadly legionnaires' disease. A severe form of pneumonia. Investigators in New York now think cooling towers like these are to plane. At least seven people have died and ABC's Dr. Richard Besser here with the story. Good morning, rich. Good morning, George. You know, New York is in the midst of the largest legionnaires disease outbreak in its history, the second outbreak of the deadly disease just this year. And people are asking why. This morning, a major public health warning about the growing outbreak of legionnaires' disease in New York City. 86 people already contracting the infection. 7 deaths so far. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you have these symptoms, please immediately seek treatment. Reporter: Legion is a type of severe pneumonia caused by breathing in water vapor that contains the legionella bacteria. The bacteria is not spread person to person but usually traced to the air-conditioning cooling towers on large buildings. During hot summer months if the towers are not properly maintained, the bacteria can multiply in the water that's used to cool the air. So this is a typical cooling tower. The air is sucked in here, it goes through these filters, evaporates and goes shooting out the top. If there's any legionella in here it's shot out into the sky. In the south bronx five cooling towers have tested positive for the bacteria. Daniel Tejada was diagnosed last month and hospitalized for 25 days. What if you hasn't gone to the hospital that day? I think I wouldn't be talking to you right now. Reporter: With such severe effects so many people wondering now what is safe? Drinking water is safe. The water you shower with. The air-conditioning is perfectly safe to use. Reporter: Although all five contaminated cooling towers have been cleaned, the incubation period for legionnaires' disease can be up to two weeks so new York health officials expect to see more cases, at least for the next several days. Okay, rich, thanks very much. You'll take questions all throughout the morning on Twitter. To Paula Faris with today
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