4th person dies amid Legionnaires' outbreak

A fourth person was confirmed dead when city health officials released new details Saturday afternoon about the Legionnaires' disease outbreak afflicting the South Bronx.

The number of people infected has risen to 65. Of those, 55 patients have been hospitalized.

Doctors say the disease is not uncommon and is treated with regular antibiotics.

After initial investigations eyed water cooling towers as the source of the outbreak, officials have also pointed to a Verizon building and the Streamline Plastic building in Mott Haven as facilities contaminated with the legionella bacteria.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene says it has begun the remediation process at the plastic company. Four other sites in the borough have tested positive for the bacteria.

Local elected officials are drafting a plan to create a protocol for testing cooling towers in the future.

Bronx residents should seek medical attention immediately if they experience any symptoms, which include fever, cough, chills and muscle aches.

The legionella bacteria typically grow in warm standing water or in faucets. The disease has a two to ten-day incubation period, officials say.

Experts say Legionnaires' typically only becomes fatal in people who have an underlying medical condition that creates other complications. 

A town hall meeting on the issue is scheduled Monday at the Bronx Museum of Arts from 6 to 8 p.m. 

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