Howard must be freaked: As Legionnaire's outbreak in NYC kills 7, city targets cooling systems Aug. 4, 2015: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio holds up a chart documenting the cases of Legionnaires' disease while speaking to reporters at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP) City officials are scrambling to draft legislation that would mandate inspections and cleanings of air conditioning cooling towers amid the largest outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease in New York City’s history. Since Friday, July 10, seven New Yorkers have died and 86 have been sickened in the outbreak. New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio has said he would propose legislation this week to prevent future outbreaks, including regular cooling tower inspections, new recommendations for an immediate outbreak response and sanctions for failing to comply with new standards. Five of the 17 cooling towers tested in South Bronx, a New York City neighborhood that is one of the poorest in the United States, have tested positive for Legionella. Remediation was completed at each of the locations. Legionnaire’s disease is a severe kind of pneumonia that is contracted by breathing in mist from water infected with Legionella bacteria. The bacterium is often found in water, and thrives in warm environment in a warm environment. “It may come as no surprise that physicians see more people infected with Legionnaire’s disease in the summer and early fall as opposed to the winter season,” Dr. Susan Rehm, an infectious disease specialist at Cleveland Clinic and medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, told FoxNews.com. Not all people who are exposed to Legionella become sick, Rehm said, but symptoms can include shortness of breath, fever, headaches, muscle pain and cough. Onset of the disease typically occurs between two and 14 days after exposure. “The symptoms are very similar to other types of respiratory illness like the flu, which can make Legionnaire’s disease tough to diagnose in some cases,” she said. De Blasio said he is confident the city has identified the only sites that caused the outbreak, but he acknowledged the lack of a complete registry of the city’s cooling towers, which could mean some unidentified cooling towers may be affected. He said his legislation would require a full registry of all NYC cooling towers. Rehm advised people in high-risk areas to avoid places where there is mist from water, and maintain water systems properly by keeping water temperature and chemical balance at appropriate levels. City health officials have said New York City’s drinking water supply hasn’t been affected and is safe to drink. All fatalities in the outbreak have been older adults with underlying medical problems. Reuters contributed to this report.