Legionnaires’ Spreads: Rikers Inmate Diagnosed With Disease

NEW YORK (AP) -

A jail inmate has been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, though health officials don’t believe the case is related to an outbreak in the South Bronx that has killed 12 people and sickened more than 100 others, officials said Tuesday.

It was unclear how the unnamed 63-year-old Rikers Island jail complex inmate, who had underlying health conditions, contracted the disease, but a City Hall spokeswoman said all six of the Department of Correction’s cooling towers had been disinfected last month and would be cleaned again.

The disease is caused when water contaminated with a certain bacteria is inhaled into the lungs. It’s easily diagnosed and treated with antibiotics, and it poses the most risk to people who have underlying medical conditions.