Health Department Providers Update on Community Cluster of Legionnaires' Disease in the Highbridge Neighborhood in the Bronx

Twenty-four cases have been identified in New Yorkers in the area, two deaths have occurred

Adults who have been in the affected area since early May with flu-like symptoms, fever, cough, or difficulty breathing should seek immediate medical attention

June 1, 2022 — The Health Department today provided an update on the investigation into a community cluster of Legionnaires’ disease in the Highbridge neighborhood in the Bronx (ZIP codes 10452 and 10456) and bordering communities. Twenty-four people have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease since May 3, 2022. Two people have died, and 4 people are currently hospitalized. The two individuals who passed were over the age of 50 and had risk factors for severe disease. The remediation ordered by the Department for the four cooling towers that tested positive for the presence of Legionella pneumophila, a type of bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease, was completed last week.

New Yorkers with flu-like symptoms, cough, fever or difficulty breathing should contact a physician immediately. Due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19, people seeking care should be tested for COVID-19 and evaluated for Legionnaires’ disease. People get Legionnaires’ disease by breathing in water vapor that contains Legionella bacteria. Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious and can be treated with antibiotics when caught early.

Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia that is caused by the bacteria Legionella, which grows in warm water. Symptoms resemble other types of pneumonia and can include fever, chills, muscle aches, and cough. Legionnaires’ disease can be caused by plumbing systems where conditions are favorable for Legionella growth, such as cooling towers, whirlpool spas, hot tubs, humidifiers, hot water tanks, and evaporative condensers of large air-conditioning systems.

Individuals only get sick by breathing in water vapor containing Legionella bacteria, and the disease is not transmitted from person to person. Individuals at higher risk include those ages 50 and above, cigarette smokers, and people with chronic lung disease or compromised immune systems. People living or working in the area who are experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention with a primary care provider or seek urgent care.



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