The Legionnaires’ outbreak involves a cluster of six illnesses in the Lenox Hill neighborhood, which runs from East 60th Street to East 77th Street in New York City.
Four people who were infected with Legionnaires’ are still hospitalized, two have been discharged, and one elderly person died. The person who died was over 90 years old and had significant underlying health problems.
“Anyone in the Lenox Hill area should be alert,” NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Basset told ABC7NY. “We wouldn’t want any doctor to say, well this is such and such street, they shouldn’t worry.”
Inspectors are testing cooling towers in the Lenox Hill neighborhood for Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease.
Test results are pending on 116 cooling towers. Signs have been posed at the 2nd Ave. Subway Station and 72nd St. to warn residents.
Health officials are trying to avoid a repeat of 2015, when two separate outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease in the Bronx caused at least 12 deaths and 130 infections. Tests found Legionella growing in 15 cooling towers in the Bronx and the Opera House Hotel.
Legionella grows in water and causes severe lung infections (pneumonia) when people breathe it in vapor from hot tubs, showers, fountains, or air-conditioning units for large buildings.