Legionnaires' cases double in NYC neighborhood

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New York City health officials have confirmed 16 cases of Legionnaires' disease in one Manhattan neighborhood.

The city Health Department said Sunday that seven people have been hospitalized due to Legionnaires' in the lower Washington Heights area. No deaths have been reported.

Health officials say they have inspected 20 cooling towers and ordered several building owners to increase their use of biocides to kill the bacteria associated with the disease.

Legionnaires' is a form of pneumonia contracted by breathing in water droplets contaminated with the bacterium Legionella. Most cases can be traced to plumbing systems where conditions are favorable for Legionella growth.

The disease is not passed from person to person.

The city sees an average of 200 to 500 Legionnaires' cases each year.

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