Legionella bacteria has been found at the Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx neighborhood of New York City. The contamination was discovered following routine testing of the hospital’s potable water. As a result, the hospital currently is under strict water restrictions.
Until the bacteria is cleared from the system, the hospital is using only bottled water, making available packaged bath wipes for hygiene and installing new water filters on showers, as reported by NBC New York. The hospital said in a statement that the bacteria levels found were low and that there is little risk to patients, however it is worth noting that the sick and elderly are more susceptible to contract Legionnaires’ disease, the disease caused by inhaling legionella bacteria. No cases of the disease have been reported in the hospital thus far.
The news comes in the wake of New York City’s first outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease of the year at the end of July. The outbreak was reported in Lower Washington Heights and Upper Hamilton Heights, with 18 reported cases, nine hospitalizations and one fatality. The New York City Department of Health inspected 20 cooling towers and ordered several building owners to increase their use of biocides consequently.