What is Legionnaires' disease?

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Legionnaires' Disease Death Toll in New York Rises to 7

With the death toll continuing to rise in New York City from Legionnaires' disease, people are freaking out. And while there is a lot of speculation and information out there, we wanted to break it down simply for you.

What is it?
According to the Mayo Clinic, "Legionnaires' disease is a severe form of pneumonia — lung inflammation usually caused by infection."

How do you get it?
You can contract Legionnaire's disease by inhaling the bacteria (legionella), but NOT from person to person contact. Because it is a disease that affects the lungs, older adults, smokers and people with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable.

​What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of the disease usually show up within two to 10 days of bacteria inhalation, and include headache, muscle pain, chills, and a fever of 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

By the second or third day, you may start to cough up mucus and/or blood, have shortness of breath, chest pain, gastrointestinal issues, like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and changes to your mental state, like confusion.

Where is the bacteria found?
The legionella bacteria responsible for the disease lives and multiplies in water areas like hot tubs, air conditioners, mist sprayers in grocery store produce departments, and water systems.

The bacteria was discovered on Friday, July 31 at a hotel in the Bronx borough of New York City.

What is the treatment?
According to the Mayo Clinic, the disease can treated with antibiotics. Problems arise when the disease is left untreated. With this being said, if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and live in the New York City area, you should see your doctor.

Stay informed and stay safe!

Want to learn more about Legionnaires' disease and its history? Click here:
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History of Legionnaires outbreaks
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What is Legionnaires' disease?
Colorized photo of the legionella bacteria under microscope. 
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio holds up a chart documenting the cases of Legionnaires' disease while speaking to reporters at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx borough of New York, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015. The death toll from an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease has risen from four to seven people, city health officials announced Monday at a public town hall meeting of concerned residents. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Following steps played by Rouge Valley Centenary Hospital in recent legionnaires disease at Seven Oaks Home for the Aged. (Photo by Ron Bull/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Employees of the auction house and exhibition-halls discuss their worries about their health after an outbreak of the Legionnaires' disease in Bovenkarspel, Netherlands, about 60 km (37 miles) north of Amsterdam Friday, March 19, 1999. An outbreak of the rare illness is thought to have originated at the exhibition halls and has killed 15 people in the Netherlands and infected at least 90. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
An ambulance drives past the main entrance of the Vila France de Xira hospital, where people infected by legionella bacteria are being treated, near Lisbon, Portugal, Friday, Nov. 14, 2014. Portuguese health authorities said the death toll from a recent outbreak of Legionnaire's disease near the capital Lisbon has risen to seven, with 311 people infected. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
The Noroxo plant is seen Monday, Jan. 5, 2004, near Lens, northern France. A deadly outbreak of Legionnaire's disease has been linked to the petrochemicals plant owned by U.S. energy giant Exxon Mobil Corp. Operations at the Noroxo plant were halted Sunday after two new cases of the respiratory disease turned up in the area. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
Exterior view of the luxurious Amstel Hotel, a favorite with visiting rock stars and dignitaries, in Amsterdam Friday Oct. 22, 2004. A routine health inspection Thursday uncovered a dangerous bacteria in the water which causes Legionnaires Disease and the hotel was evacuated subsequently. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
The exterior of a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan office building is shown in Detroit, Thursday, June 22, 2006. About 350 health care workers will be off until Monday as crews flush out the water system at the downtown building after one employee was diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease, a spokeswoman said Thursday. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
A worker collects water for drinking after water supply was stopped for cleaning process at the government headquarters in Hong Kong Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012. Bacteria that cause Legionnaire's disease have been found throughout Hong Kong's brand new, $670-million government headquarters. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
The House Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations holds a hearing on analyzing the Veterans Affairs Department actions to prevent Legionnaires Disease in Pittsburgh after a recent outbreak at the Pittsburgh V.A. Medical Center, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Witnesses, from right to left, are Steve Schira, chairman and CEO of Liquitech, Inc., Kathleen Dahl, president of AFGE Local 2028, Pittsburgh Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Aaron Marshall, operations manager for Enrich Products, Inc., Janet Stout, director of the Special Pathogens Laboratory, and Victor Yu, professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Security guards patrol the sidewalk in front of a Veterans Affairs hospital in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013. Federal health officials now say five people may have died from Legionnaires' disease at local Veterans Affairs hospitals over the last two years. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
DROCOURT, FRANCE: Doctor Ramin Roboubi, chief of the Pneumology service at the Henin-Beaumont poly-clinic, looks at the x-ray of a patient suffering from Legionnaires' disease 31 December 2003. Twenty patients out of the 50 registered have been treated in this clinic. Ten are still hospitalized. (AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN)
Rep. Tom Hennies, R-Rapid City, right, chats with House Speaker Matthew Michels, R-Yankton, Wednesday, March 1, 2006, at Pierre, S.D. Hennies recently learned he has Legionnaires' disease; he's being treated with an antibiotic. (AP Photo/Joe Kafka)
Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, right, wipes his eyes as he attends the wake of the Brazilian minister Sergio Motta Monday, April 20, 1998, in Sao Paulo. Motta, the powerful communications minister who oversaw the break-up of Brazil's telecommunications monopoly, died Sunday of complications from Legionnaires disease. He was 57. From left are Renata Motta daughter of Sergio Motta, Wilma Motta, wife, and Minister of Health Jose Serra. (AP Photostr/Inacio Teixeira)
Terry Pego, left, a passenger on the Celebrity Cruise ship Horizon, carries her luggage upon her arrival at New York's La Guardia Airport, July 21, 1994, as Robert Wieder, a representative of the Miami-based cruise line, greets passengers at rear right. Pego and other passengers of the Horizon were flown home from Bermuda, their vacations cut short after traces of Legionnaires' disease were found on board. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Andrew and Christine Scott show off their customized t-shirts, bearing the statement "I survived the mass evacuation Horizon," after their arrival at New York's La Guardia Airport, July 21, 1994. The Scotts and other passengers of Celebrity Cruise line's Horizon cruise ship were flown home from Bermuda, their vacations cut short after traces of Legionnaires' disease bacteria were found in shipboard water samples. The ship was voluntarily taken out of service Wednesday. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Dr. Stephen Thacker, right, of the U.S. Center for Disease Control, interviews Thomas Payne in Chambersburg, Pa. Hospital, Aug. 4, 1976. Payne was one of the Legionnaires who became ill after attending a state convention in Philadelphia. He is slowly recovering, although over 20 other Legionnaires have died from the mysterious disease. (AP Photo/Pool)
An Environmental Protection Agency technician sets up apparatus to catch particles in the air on street along Seventh Avenue and 35th Street, Sept. 8, 1978. Faced with five confirmed cases of Legionnaires disease and 73 suspected ones, city officials announced new steps to prevent any further spread of the disease, which so far has been confined to the bustling Garment District. (AP Photo/Dan Goodrich)
Illustrated postcard shows the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, early 1900s. In 1976, the hotel was the site of the first outbreak of the previously unknown and deadly Legionnaires' disease. (Photo by Vintage Images/Getty Images)
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