NYC identifies hotel as source of Legionnaires' outbreak

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Legionella bacteria (CDC image)

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City health officials have identified a Bronx hotel as the source of a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires' disease.

Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said Thursday that tests matched the strain of Legionnaires'-causing bacteria in a rooftop air-conditioning unit at the Opera House Hotel with a strain found in 25 patients. Some of them died.

The South Bronx outbreak began last month. Twelve patients have died, and more than 100 others were sickened.

The bacteria have been found in 18 rooftop air-conditioning units, also called cooling towers.

The hotel's century-old building once housed performances by Harry Houdini and the Marx Brothers.

The hotel has said that its cooling tower has been cleaned routinely and that managers acted quickly to get it cleaned again after learning of the Legionnaires' problem.