The New York City Health Department is investigating a community cluster of Legionnaires’ disease cases in downtown Flushing, Queens. A total of 12 patients have been confirmed with Legionnaires’ disease in the area in the past two weeks.
Most patients had serious underlying health conditions. The patients range in age from early 30s to late 80s. Five persons are hospitalized and recovering, and seven have been discharged from the hospital. No patients have died.
Two more cases are currently being investigated to determine whether they are part of this cluster.
The Health Department is actively investigating these cases and has taken water samples from all cooling tower systems within the investigation zone to test for Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease.
“The Health Department is currently investigating a cluster of Legionnaires’ disease cases in the downtown Flushing area of Queens, and I urge individuals in this area with respiratory symptoms to seek medical attention right away. People over the age of 50 and people with compromised immune systems are especially at risk,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “As with our previous Legionnaires’ disease investigations, we are in the process of investigating the source of the cluster and are working with building owners in the area to rapidly test and clean cooling towers.”
The Health Department has alerted health care providers in the area about this cluster. Legionnaires’ disease is a treatable infection using antibiotics for pneumonia. Every year, there are between 200 and 400 cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the city.