Over the past two weeks, the city has faced one of the worst outbreaks of Legionnaires' Disease in its history. Health Reporter Erin Billups takes a look at how government responded as the cases in the South Bronx began multiplying and filed the following report.
The first Legionnaires' case was reported to the city Health Department July 10. Then another, and another. On July 25, a computer algorithm flagged to health officials that something was wrong. By July 29, there were 31 cases and the department alerted doctors and the press.
The next day, the city announced a total of 46 cases, and two deaths - the toll was climbing fast. Officials urged anyone with pneumonia-like symptoms to seek help. On July 30, the Legionella bacteria was found in two cooling systems.
On August 1 the city said five towers tested positive for Legionella. By August 3, outreach teams were in the South Bronx, and taking questions at a packed town hall.
As numbers climbed, so did the anxiety.
We now know that August 3 was the last day anyone got the disease. By this time, the outbreak's source - those five contaminated towers - had been cleaned. The danger was over.
But perception took time to catch up with reality because cases were still being reported to the city, as doctors belatedly realized that some sick patients had Legionnaires'.
By August 5, the announced tally climbed to 97 sick, eight dead. Around this time, the Bronx borough president asked Governor Andrew Cuomo for help.
By now, city officials say, hospitals were identifying Legionnaires patients the same day they sought treatment. When the outbreak began, there had been a six-day lag
On August 10, the mayor said the outbreak had peaked with 113 cases, 12 dead.
Only a few more cases would be reported - patients who had gotten sick earlier, but were not properly diagnosed. By Thursday the toll stood at 119 sick, and still 12 dead.
That day the City Council passed a law requiring quarterly inspections of cooling towers.
Some critics say the city should have sounded the alarm sooner about the outbreak.
A CDC official calls the city's response swift and appropriate.