New York: The death toll has risen to 12 from an unprecedented outbreak of Legionnaires` disease in New York that saw 113 people contract the form of pneumonia, officials said Monday.
Seventy-six people have now been treated and discharged from hospital since the outbreak began on July 10 in the south Bronx, a less prosperous part of New York City.
"The outbreak is tapering off," said Mayor Bill de Blasio, repeating remarks at the weekend that the illness was on the wane.
The disease is spread by a bacteria, which had been discovered in the cooling towers of 13 buildings in the South Bronx area.
All those have since been cleaned and disinfected.
Officials have stressed that the dead were all older patients with pre-existing medical conditions. Legionnaires` disease is not contagious and can be treated with antibiotics.
The serious pulmonary infection is spread by bacteria that thrive in warm water, such as that found in hot water pipes, air-conditioning systems and industrial ponds.
Infections result from inhaling airborne droplets of contaminated water. The incubation period lasts two to 10 days.
The disease takes its name from its first outbreak, in 1976, at a Philadelphia hotel where a meeting of the American Legion society was being held. More than 220 participants fell ill and 34 died.