Legionnaires' disease outbreak in upper Manhattan

- New York City health officials are investigating a cluster of Legionnaires' disease cases in one Manhattan neighborhood.

The city Health Department said Wednesday that eight people have been diagnosed with Legionnaires' in the lower Washington Heights area in the last week. No deaths have been reported.

The Health Department is testing water from all cooling tower systems in the area of the cluster and will hold a meeting for concerned residents at St. Luke's AME church on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Legionnaires' disease is a form of pneumonia contracted by breathing in water droplets contaminated with the bacterium Legionella. Most cases can be traced to plumbing systems where conditions are favorable for Legionella growth.

“This is coming from cooling towers… the mist generated by these machines," said Demetre Daskalakis, Deputy Commissioner for Disease Control, NYC DOH

The disease isn't passed from one person to another. Symptoms can include fever, chills and muscle aches.

Elderly people are at the highest risk when diagnosed.

“If you get there early and get appropriate treatment you’re good to go," said Daskalakis.

With the Associated Press

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