In a follow-up on the Legionnaires’ disease cluster reported in Lower Washington Heights in northern Manhattan, New York City health officials report the case count has risen to 14.

Legionella/CDC
Legionella/CDC

The Health Department is actively investigating these cases and is sampling and testing water from all active cooling tower systems in the area of the cluster.

This is the second Legionnaires’ disease cluster reported in Lower Washington Heights this year.

Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia that is caused by the bacteria Legionella, which grows in warm water. Symptoms resemble other types of pneumonia and can include fever, chills, muscle aches, and cough. Most cases of Legionnaires’ disease can be traced to plumbing systems where conditions are favorable for Legionella growth, such as cooling towers, whirlpool spas, hot tubs, humidifiers, hot water tanks, and evaporative condensers of large air-conditioning systems.

Individuals may be infected by breathing in water vapor containing Legionella, and the disease is not transmitted from person to person. Individuals at higher risk include those ages 50 and above, cigarette smokers, and people with chronic lung disease or compromised immune systems. People living or working in the area who are experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention with a primary care provider or seek urgent care.