October 10, 2018 — Another outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in New York City has sickened at least 14 people n the Washington Heights-Hamilton Heights area.
The Health Department is investigating the outbreak and is sampling and testing water from all active cooling tower systems in the area.
The source of the outbreak is unknown, but officials have tested 20 cooling towers and they are re-testing 11 for the bacteria. One cooling tower was not registered with the city, so it was not being tested.
This is the second outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the Lower Washington Heights area this year.
Legionnaires’ disease is a type of bacterial pneumonia (lung infection) that is caused by Legionella, a bacteria that grows in warm water. The symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, and cough.
Most outbreaks are traced to spas, hot tubs, humidifiers and air conditioning systems, and the condensers of complex water systems in skyscrapers and other large buildings.
People become infected with Legionella by breathing the bacteria into the lungs when it is in the air. The most high-risk individuals are people over the age of 50, cigarette smokers, and people with chronic lung infections or other underlying illnesses.
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