NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Numbers have risen in the local outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, with a third person now dead and nearly a dozen more cases confirmed.
Officials said Friday the latest victim had additional underlying medical problems. City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said the other two people who died were in their 50s and suffered from a host of other health issues as well.
The city also increased the number of cases from 46 to 57; 42 of which have been hospitalized.
Meanwhile, as CBS2’s Matt Kozar reported, health officials have found the bacteria that caused the disease inside a Bronx hotel. The latest location to test positive was the Opera House Hotel, at 436 E. 149th St. in the South Bronx.
“Obviously we heard the reports from all the buildings in the area having the issue, so we wanted to make sure that we got the results from (the city), and then proceed to take action if we needed to,” general manager Julio Vargas told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones.
Vargas said health inspectors found the bacteria in the cooling tower.
“No one has been sick,” Vargas said. “No reports of any issues.”
The hotel used chemicals to kill the bacteria, and Vargas said it is safe. But hotel guest Michele Suarez was concerned.
“We don’t know if we should stay here, or go to another hotel, or what we should do,” she said.
On Thursday, health officials said cooling towers at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, and the Concourse Plaza Mall, also tested positive for the disease.
Deputy Health Commissioner Jay Varma said he suspects more cases will be reported.
“Unfortunately the number of cases is likely to go up over the next couple of days,” he told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.