(NEW YORK) — The New York City Health Department announced Tuesday that after 12 residents of the Bronx — and eight residents of the Co-op City neighborhood — have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease since December 2014, tests have revealed that cooling towers in Co-op City are contaminated with Legionella bacteria.
The Health Department says it will continue to investigate whether the cooling towers are the source of the recent cases. Still, the NYCDH recommends immediate steps be taken to decontaminate the cooling tower to minimize the risk. Co-op City is among the largest residential complexes in the nation.
Infected water is used to cool Co-op City’s heating and electrical systems, but the water in those towers is self-contained and totally separate from water used by residents for drinking, cooking and bathing.
“The Health Department is concerned about this sudden increase in Legionnaires’ disease in the Bronx,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said Tuesday. “We are conducting a thorough investigation and working closely with River Bay Corporation to minimize the public risk and to prevent future cases.”
Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease can include fever, chills and cough, as well as muscle aches, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, confusion and sometimes diarrhea.
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