Highbridge, Bronx, New York, Sees Legionella Cases

June 2, 2022

Legionella pneumophila was found in four cooling towers in the Highbridge neighborhood’s 1452 and 1456 ZIP codes

Legionnaires’ disease cases have increased from 19 to 24 in Highbridge, New York, in the past week, reported The Bronx Times-Reporter.

The death toll has risen from one to two as well, and these individuals were more than 50 years old and had risk factors for severe disease, according to the city health department, reported The Bronx Times-Reporter.

The outbreak has left four people currently hospitalized, added the city health department officials.

Legionella pneumophila was found in four cooling towers in the Highbridge neighborhood’s 1452 and 1456 ZIP codes, reported The Bronx Times-Reporter. The towers were completely remediated last week, according to the health department.

According to Nancy Kheck, the health director for Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson’s office, in an interview with the Bronx Times-Reporter, people who caught the disease would have been either on the roof, on a terrace or just walking outside, without wearing masks.

Kheck added that people in the Bronx will not catch the illness from drinking tap water because the water supply is completely separate, reported The Bronx Times-Reporter.

There were past outbreaks in the city linked to cooling towers as well. The city health department has not yet provided a response regarding the matter. The infected cooling towers have been cleaned and inspected.  

Adults who have been in the Highbridge area over the past month who have flu-like symptoms, fever, cough or difficulty breathing should seek immediate medical attention, according to the health department, reported The Bronx Times-Reporter.

The Bronx Times-Reporter adds that New York City sees an average of 200-500 Legionnaires’ disease cases each year, as per the health department’s reporting.

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Cristina Tuser