Officials Order Cooling Tower Inspections to Battle Deadly Legionnaires’ Outbreak in NYC

gty_legionnaires_disease_tk_120111_wmainNew York State health officials are ordering widespread inspections of cooling facilities to try to stem New York City’s worst outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, which had killed 10 people and infected a reported 101 people as of Friday afternoon.

The state and the city are collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to suppress the outbreak, Commissioner of Health for New York State, Dr. Howard Zucker, said during a press conference Friday afternoon.

“While it is clearly a significant outbreak in the Bronx, this is a state-wide issue and the governor is monitoring Legionnaire’s statewide,” Zucker said . . .

“We want to be confident that every cooling tower in this city is clean,” said Dr. Mary Bassett, commissioner of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. “The city will be taking a lead for the nation in making sure our cooling towers are safe.”

The respiratory disease, which causes pneumonia-like symptoms, isn’t transmitted from person to person but rather by contact with the bacterium Legionella. The bacteria can thrive in warm water and become especially dangerous when the water is turned into a mist that can be inhaled. Medical investigators have linked past outbreaks to public fountains, air conditioning systems, spas, showers and even the misters than keep fruit moist in supermarkets. (Read more from “Officials Order Cooling Tower Inspections to Battle Deadly Legionnaires’ Outbreak in NYC” HERE)

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