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NYC Health Officials Investigating Spike In Legionnaires' Disease Cases

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- City health officials are trying to determine if a common source is to blame for a spike in cases of Legionnaires' disease in the Bronx.

There were 11 cases in the borough in December, city epidemiologist Dr. Sharon Balter said.

"If you compare that to 2013, we only saw two," Balter told WCBS 880's Alex Silverman.

NYC Health Officials Investigating Spike In Legionnaires' Disease Cases

Most people get Legionnaires' by inhaling bacteria from the environment, not from another person.

Health officials are interviewing those diagnosed with Legionnaires' to figure out if the cases could be related and are telling doctors to test anyone who comes in with pneumonia for the disease.

Balter said there is no reason right now to worry about a serious outbreak and noted that Legionnaires' is treatable with antibiotics.

"A lot of people, I think, are very afraid of Legionella because they remember the days when there weren't easy ways to test and treat Legionella," she said.

The symptoms of Legionnaires' disease can include a cough, shortness of breath, high fever, muscle aches and headaches. An estimated 8,000 to 18,000 people are hospitalized with Legionnaires' each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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