The Department of Health is investigating two cases of Legionnaires’ disease that have emerged in the past 10 months at Savoy Park (2300 Fifth Ave) in a West Harlem apartment complex.
The disease hasn’t been seen in the city since last summer where an outbreak in the South Bronx killed 12 people and affected over 120.
Legionnaires’ is a water-borne illness caused by Legionella bacteria infecting your lungs. It is commonly caught by inhaling small droplets of contaminated water. According to officials, tenants of the affected area can still use and drink water, but people with compromised immune systems should heed the following precautions:
- Don’t shower, even a cool shower can create water mist.
- Take baths but fill the bathtub slowly and try to minimize your time in the bathroom while the tub is filling.
- It’s fine to wash dishes, but fill the sink slowly to avoid creating mist.
- It’s fine to drink cold water from the tap, but start with cold water when heating water for tea, coffee or cooking.
- You do not need to wear a mask.
- It is important to continue to wash your hands.
Officials said water testing would be done at the building. Residents were notified with a letter on July 26 from the health department and have been notified by the building’s management company. The health department has also met with residents to address their concerns.
A health department spokesman named Christopher Miller told DNAinfoNY:
“While the risk of infection to tenants is very low, as part of routine protocol to assess potential sources of Legionella, the department is working with the building management to test the building’s water supply, […]Residents of this building have been notified of the investigation and given relevant information about the disease and next steps.”
The outbreak last summer was traced back to 15 cooling towers, but this has been ruled out of the cases at the West Harlem building. Officials said water testing will be done at the building and that they have met with residents to address their concerns.
Featured image source: [everydayhealth]