FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 039-15
Monday, September 28, 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: Christopher Miller/Carolina Rodriguez (347) 396-4177
The Health Department is currently investigating a cluster of seven Legionnaires' disease cases in the Morris Park section of the Bronx. This cluster is unrelated to the outbreak in the South Bronx this summer that was attributed to Legionella found in the cooling tower of the Opera House Hotel. Patients in the current cluster live or work in Morris Park, range in age from 45 to 75 and are all currently hospitalized. There have been no deaths. New Yorkers with respiratory symptoms, such as fever, cough, chills and difficulty breathing, are advised to promptly seek medical attention.
“We are investigating a cluster of seven cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Morris Park. I urge all New Yorkers to seek care immediately if they have flu -like symptoms, including fever, cough, headache, or difficulty breathing. The Department is taking immediate steps to determine the source and protect the people who live and work in Morris Park,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett.
As soon as the possibility of a cluster was identified, DOHMH began an aggressive response:
Legionnaires' disease is caused by the bacteria Legionella, and New York City sees 200-300 cases each year. Additional symptoms include: headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, confusion and diarrhea. Symptoms usually appear two (2) to 10 days after significant exposure to Legionella bacteria. Most cases of Legionnaires’ disease can be traced to plumbing systems where conditions are favorable for Legionella growth, such as whirlpool spas, hot tubs, humidifiers, hot water tanks, cooling towers, and evaporative condensers of large air-conditioning systems.
Legionnaires' disease cannot be spread from person to person. Groups at high risk for Legionnaire’s disease include people who are middle-aged or older – especially cigarette smokers – people with chronic lung disease or weakened immune systems and people who take medicines that weaken their immune systems (immunosuppressive drugs). Those with symptoms should call their doctor and ask about testing for Legionnaire’s disease. New York City’s drinking water supply and drinking water tanks are unaffected.
For more information about Legionnaires’ disease, please visit the Health Department website.