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More deaths reported in New York Legionnaires' outbreak

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a map showing the location in the Bronx borough of cooling towers (red triangles) and people (red dots) infected with Legionnaires' disease, during a news conference Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015.

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

New York City officials say 12 people have now died from the city's worst Legionnaires' disease outbreak in history.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett announced the latest two deaths on Monday.

At least 113 people have been sickened since the outbreak began last month. That number went up slightly because several more people were diagnosed after the fact. Officials said there have been no new cases in the last week, suggesting the outbreak is waning.

The outbreak is centered in the South Bronx, where 12 buildings have tested positive for the bacteria that causes the disease. Cooling towers that contained the bacteria were being decontaminated.

"We are taking every precaution to prevent the spread of Legionnaires' disease," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Monday. "This outbreak has been a source of great concern for people throughout the Bronx and the rest of New York City, but residents should know that we are doing everything necessary to protect the public health. The state is working closely with our federal and local partners, and together we will keep New Yorkers safe."

Health officials said they had canvassed more than 500 buildings in the South Bronx in recent days to inform residents about the outbreak.

Legionnaires' disease is form of pneumonia caused by breathing in mist from water contaminated with the Legionella bacteria. The disease is not spread from person to person.

The illness is especially dangerous for the elderly and people with underlying health issues, and officials have said that a number of those who died in this outbreak had other serious health conditions.

Symptoms of Legionnaires' disease include cough, shortness of breath, high fever, headache and muscle aches, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The illness typically develops between 2 and 14 days after being exposed to the bacteria. Legionnaires' disease can be treated with antibiotics.

Health officials have stressed that drinking water, fountains and pools in the city are safe.