June 19, 2017 — An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in New York City has infected at least 7 people, including one elderly person who died.
Health officials in New York City said all of the illnesses occurred in the last two weeks in the Lenox Hill neighborhood on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, which runs from East 60th Street to East 77th.
Four of the victims remain in the hospital and two have been discharged. The one person who died was over 90 years old and had significant underlying health problems, according to health officials.
Even so, NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Basset warned all residents to be vigilant for symptoms of Legionnaire’s:
“Anyone in the Lenox Hill area should be alert. We wouldn’t want any doctor to say, well this is such and such street, they shouldn’t worry.”
Inspectors have tested 116 cooling towers in the neighborhood for Legionella, a bacteria that grows in water and cooling towers in large buildings. Signs have been posted on 72nd St. and the Second Avenue Subway Station to notify residents.
New York City had a major outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in 2015, when at least 12 people died and 130 were infected in the Bronx. Tests found Legionella growing in 15 cooling towers and the historic Opera House Hotel.
Legionnaires’ disease is a lung infection (pneumonia) that is caused by breathing Legionella bacteria in mist or vapor from showers, hot tubs, fountains, or air-conditioning units. The symptoms include cough, fever, chills, shortness of breath, muscle aches, headaches, and diarrhea, although not everyone who is infected shows symptoms.
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