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New York City jail inmate diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease

The Rikers Island jail complex in New York is seen in this file photo from May 17, 2011.

Spencer Platt, Getty Images

NEW YORK -- An inmate at New York City's Rikers Island jail is the latest patient to be diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease, but health officials say the case is not believed to be related to the South Bronx outbreak that has killed 12 people and sickened 115.

A 63-year-old inmate at the Anna M. Kross Center at the jail complex was diagnosed with Legionnaires' on Monday, according to the New York City Department of Corrections (DOC).

CBS New York reports the patient was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center and was treated with antibiotics. Officials said the patient had underlying medical conditions, which can put a person at higher risk from Legionnaires'.

Out of an abundance of caution, all six cooling towers at Rikers Island were chemically disinfected, even though they had been disinfected just last month, the DOC said. The DOC has also cleaned all showerheads.

Officials said earlier this week that the Legionnaires' outbreak centered in the South Bronx -- the worst in the city's history -- appeared to be waning, with no new cases emerging in recent days.

Scientists are zeroing in on the location where the outbreak may have gotten its start, believed to be one of five cooling towers in the South Bronx, which have been disinfected.

Three cases of Legionnaires' have also been diagnosed in Rockland County, north of New York City, since July 1.

Legionnaires' disease, a form of pneumonia, is caused when a person inhales water mist contaminated with legionella bacteria into the lungs. It can be treated with antibiotics.

In an average year, about 200-300 cases occur in New York City, officials said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports between 8,000 and 18,000 people are hospitalized with Legionnaires' nationwide each year.