A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a man sickened in the Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak linked to the Opera House Hotel in New York City. At least 128 people in the South Bronx were sickened in the outbreak which began July 10. Twelve people died.
Legionnaires’ Disease causes pneumonia-like symptoms including fever, cough, fatigue, confusion, aches and lung inflammation. It is transmitted when contaminated water mist from showers, faucets, whirlpools, swimming pools, fountains or cooling towers in air conditioning systems is inhaled. It does not spread from person-to person.
City and state health officials worked together with investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to find the source of the city’s largest-ever Legionnaires’ outbreak. They tracked the problem to a cooling tower at the Opera House Hotel. Using epidemiologic tests, they were able to determine that the strain of legionella bacteria found in the cooling tower matched the strain found in patients. The hotel has cleaned and disinfected its tower, and the outbreak is now considered over.
“Today, all cooling towers in the affected area have been disinfected, and all cooling towers across the City are being evaluated and disinfected if necessary,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Historic legislation passed by the City Council and signed by Mayor de Blasio should help prevent tragic outbreaks like this from occurring again.”