Historic Bronx Hotel Rooftop Fingered as Legionnaires’ Source

NEW YORK (AP) -

A historic Bronx hotel’s rooftop air-conditioning unit is the source of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that has killed 12 people and sickened more than 100, city Health Chief Mary Bassett said Thursday.

After extensive sampling and testing of Legionnaires’-causing bacteria, laboratories have matched the strain found in the Opera House Hotel’s rooftop unit — also called a cooling tower — with the strain found in 25 patients, some of whom died, Bassett said.

“The outbreak is over,” Bassett said, noting the maximum incubation period has passed since the last case Aug. 3.

In all, there have been 128 cases and almost all patients hospitalized with the disease have been discharged, officials said. But it’s unclear whether every patient walked right by the hotel; mist can travel up to a mile under some conditions, officials said.