NYC officials now say that there are 71 reported cases of Legionnaires' disease in the South Bronx, but no need to panic: "New York City's drinking water supply and other water features, like fountains and pools, are safe throughout New York City and are unaffected by legionella."

The outbreak was first revealed in the middle of last week. So far, four people have died. All the deceased were "older adults" with "additional underlying medical problems," according to officials. Legionnaires disease, a kind of bacterial pneumonia, can be treated with antibiotics, but the CDC says, "Healthy people usually get better after being sick with Legionnaires' disease, but hospitalization is often required."

The bacteria, legionella, was found in the cooling towers of five buildings: Lincoln Medical Center, Concourse Plaza, Opera House Hotel, a Verizon building and Streamline Plastic Co. All buildings have completed remediation and, officials say, will be required to submit "long-term plans as to how they will maintain the cooling towers to protect against any future growth of legionella" by Friday.

According to the NY Times, "Officials are confident that the disease spread from one or more of the five cooling towers, not from another water source, because interviews with the patients have shown that the only thing those who fell sick had in common was living and working in the same few South Bronx neighborhoods."

Given that, “it would not have been possible for them to all be infected from one Jacuzzi or one shower,” said Dr. Jay Varma, the deputy commissioner for disease control at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. “It may take a few weeks for us to do the lab detective work that’s needed to conclusively say whether it was one cooling tower or all five.”

He said that none of the people who became ill had stayed at the Opera House Hotel as guests, nor had any of them been patients or staff members at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center.

Dr. Glenn Morris, the director of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida, also told the Times, "Legionella love water systems, particularly old, clunky and corroded ones that are not well maintained and have a little sludge. Cooling towers in particular are a great place to live from a legionella’s perspective, because it’s nice, warm water year-round.”

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said, "During the course of our actions fighting the Legionnaire’s Disease outbreak in The Bronx, it has been revealed that there is no inspection mechanism for coolant systems, rooftop water tanks and other standing water infrastructure that could be a breeding ground for this disease and others. The city must create a new inspection system for these systems, just as we inspect other critical systems such as elevators."

There will be a Town Hall with Council Member Vanessa Gibson tonight to discuss the outbreak: