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2 More People Have Legionnaires' Disease, Bringing Total to 115, Mayor Says

By  Jeff Mays and Aidan Gardiner | August 11, 2015 8:40am | Updated on August 11, 2015 2:08pm

 Mayor Bill de Blasio met with senior citizens at the SHOPP Leon Senior Center on E. 152nd Street and Concord Avenue in The Bronx on Tuesdayto discusss the Legionnaires' outbreak.
De Blasio visits senior center
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NEW YORK CITY — There are now 115 people who are infected with Legionnaires' disease in NYC, in the deadliest outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in city history that's already claimed 12 lives, officials said Tuesday.

Officials have identified two more people who were infected by the disease, a form of pneumonia transmited by breathing in water vapor, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a Tuesday afternoon press conference at a senior home in The Bronx.

The mayor tried to dampen concern, saying there haven't been any new infections since Aug. 3 and that officials are working on protocols to ensure they prevent similar outbreaks going forward.

"We are confident the Legionnaires' outbreak is now ending," de Blasio said, adding, "We will make sure we will not ever have another outbreak like this again in this city."

Investigators have found the disease in the cooling towers of 18 buildings, 11 of which are in what officials call the "impact zone" of the outbreak, officials said.

The remaining seven buildings, however, may not be tied to the current outbreak that began in July because they fall outside the zone, officials said.

Those outside the zone include a Verizon building at 1106 Hoe Ave.: The Bronx detective squad building at 1086 Simpson St.; 1201 Lafayette Ave. and 230 E. 123rd St. in Manhattan, city officials said in a news release sent Monday evening.

State investigators found the bacteria, a form of pneumonia, at three other sites outside the impact zone, but have not released their locations, city officials said.

The conflicting information coming from the city and state are part of an ongoing feud between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio that critics have called unseemly during a health disaster of this scope.

Officials said they have contained the outbreak, that there haven't been any new infections since Aug. 3 and they are confident they can identify its source.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has also put forward a bill that would require building owners' to register their cooling towers, which officials suspect have been spreading the disease during the current outbreak.

But the court officers' union, which operates in two court houses that have tested positive for Legionnaires', criticised the city's response, calling it "lackadaisical."

They cited an April death tied to Legionnaires' disease that they said the city failed to properly act on.

"Once they had the first death, of a New York City school teacher in the South Bronx, they should have brought in the CDC to find out what the problem was," a union official said.