The Centers for Disease Control announced this month that the number of Legionnaires cases in the U.S. has almost quadrupled over the past 15 years with about 5,000 people being diagnosed with the disease in 2015. Other estimates put that number closer to 18,000. Among these were the more than 120 people sickened in the Bronx, New York, last year, 12 of whom died, plus another 13 killed and dozens more sickened following an outbreak at a state veterans home in Quincy, Illinois.
The CDC says the rise in Legionnaires cases is largely linked to improper water management, most frequently inside buildings that have large water systems, namely hotels, hospitals and other health care facilities. Buildings where the bacteria is present often haven’t used enough disinfectant in their water or have not made needed repairs to filters or other equipment.
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