Legionnaires’ Disease Is Back in the Bronx

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Legionella Pneumophila
Photo: BSIP/UIG

After just a mere few Legionnaires’ disease–free weeks, the illness has returned to the Bronx. On Monday afternoon, health commissioner Mary Bassett announced that seven people who either work or live in the neighborhood of Morris Park have come down with Legionnaires’ since September 21. (The patients, who are all between the ages of 45 and 75, have all been hospitalized.) These new cases are said to be unrelated to this summer’s outbreak, which killed 12 people and sickened 120.

Over the weekend, investigators reportedly tested all of the neighborhood’s cooling towers for Legionella bacteria; they’re now waiting on results. (The last outbreak was traced to a cooling tower at the South Bronx’s Opera House Hotel.) Meanwhile, Basset urged “all New Yorkers to seek to seek care immediately if they have flu-like symptoms, including fever, cough, headache, or difficulty breathing.” For those who managed to forget: Legionnaires’ incubation period is two to ten days. It’s generally most dangerous to the elderly, smokers, and people with preexisting respiratory or immune system conditions, but it wouldn’t hurt anyone to be careful.