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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Health officials are continuing to investigate a cluster of Legionnaires’ disease in Flushing, Queens after 12 people were diagnosed in the area in the past two weeks.
Officials are waiting for the test results of two individuals who they suspect may have the disease. Of the 12 people who have been diagnosed so far, five of them are still in the hospital.
News of the Legionnaires’ cluster left many in downtown Flushing not only alarmed, but concerned.
“Wow this is pretty scary,” said one resident.
“It makes me a little worried because my daughter is sick now,” said another.
Health officials say the 12 people ranging from their 30s to their 80s and all of them had recently been in downtown Flushing.
“We’re not giving streets, not giving you a border because we want people in the area not to say, ‘Oh, I live north of the area, so I’m not going to worry about my cough and fever,'” said Dr. Demetre Daskalakis with the city health department.
The disease is spread through airborne water droplets from cooling towers and health officials say they are testing every tower in the area to try and isolate the source.
While city officials are not giving any specifics, they’re urging everyone in the area to be mindful of symptoms including fever, muscle aches, chills, coughing and nausea.
The health department is also putting up flyers around the community to educate the public.
In the meantime, officials say there’s no need to panic.
“What people need to do is live their lives normally,” said Daskalakis. “It’s safe to drink water, it’s safe to shower. But if you feel ill, if you have flu-like symptoms, a fever, a cough, diarrhea, it’s really important to go see your doctor.”
The disease is not spread person to person and is treatable using antibiotics for pneumonia.