Outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease in the Bronx

By Hamodia Staff

An outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease in the Highbridge area of the Bronx has led to 19 confirmed cases, 8 hospitalizations, and one fatality, according to the NYC Health Department.  Adults who have been in the affected area since May, which covers zip codes 10452 and 10456, who have flu-like symptoms, including fever, cough, or difficulty breathing should seek immediate medical attention.

The Health Department is conducting outreach in the impacted area to inform residents of the cluster and provide guidance for how and when to seek care. Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious and can be treated with antibiotics when caught early.

Four cooling towers in the area tested positive for the presence of Legionella pneumophila, a type of bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease, and were immediately ordered to disinfect. Health Department inspectors will be following up to ensure compliance with disinfection protocols. Department staff are conducting outreach in the area to inform residents of the cluster and provide guidance for how best to protect themselves.

While most people exposed to the bacteria do not get sick, Legionnaires’ disease can cause severe illness or be fatal for those at higher risk, including people pre-existing chronic health issues.

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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