Health Dept. Tests Coolers, Holds Community Meeting Following Legionnaires' Outbreak

July 12, 2018 - 8:51 am

NEW YORK (1010WINS) -- The New York City Department of Health & Hygiene is testing water from all cooling tower systems in the area of a legionnaires' cluster in Lower Washington Heights.

A community meeting was held at 7 p.m. Thursday at Saint Luke’s AME Church located at 1872 Amsterdam Ave.

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"The Health Department has identified a cluster of Legionnaires disease in the Lower Washington Heights area," said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. "While most people exposed to  Legionella don’t get sick, individuals ages 50 and above, especially those who smoke and have chronic lung conditions, are at a higher risk. This disease is very treatable with antibiotics. I encourage anyone with symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease to seek care early."

There have been no deaths associated with this cluster.

Eight people have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease in the last seven days, the Department of Health said in a statement. 

All but one hospitalized and one has been discharged.

Ages of the individuals ranged from under 40 to over 80, but most were ages 50 and above.



According to the Department of Health, "Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia that is caused by the bacteria Legionella, which grows in warm water. Symptoms resemble other types of pneumonia and can include fever, chills, muscle aches, and cough. Most cases of Legionnaires’ disease can be traced to plumbing systems where conditions are favorable for Legionella growth, such as cooling towers, whirlpool spas, hot tubs, humidifiers, hot water tanks, and evaporative condensers of large air-conditioning systems."