New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that the New York State Department of Health is providing free Legionella testing for building owners, operators, managers and landlords of buildings with cooling towers or evaporative condenser units that can be sources of the bacteria.

This image shows Legionella colonies growing on a Petri dish. Image/Otto Schwake
This image shows Legionella colonies growing on a Petri dish.
Image/Otto Schwake

Testing will be done free of charge through the Department’s Wadsworth Center Laboratory. This service will be available until October, when the hot summer temperatures that may contribute to the growth of Legionella bacteria have moderated.

Governor Cuomo has also made State phone lines available in order to further facilitate Legionella testing by State Health officials. Trained operators will be available Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm at (888-769-7243 or 518-485-1159). These lines are designed to support sample collection, as described below, which will facilitate testing by the Department of Health. If you require medical attention, call your health care provider or 9-1-1 immediately.

Coinciding with this announcement, the Governor also deployed State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker to the Bronx to examine multiple sites found to have high concentrations of Legionella. Dr. Zucker will also be working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to do a full briefing with State and local officials on the outbreak in New York City next week.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “Our state-of-the-art labs at the Wadsworth Center are providing this free service as a way to prevent the spread of Legionnaires’ Disease, which is seen in the summer months when the bacteria may grow in cooling towers and spread through water droplets. These services will help safeguard the public and raise awareness about the importance of properly maintaining these systems.”

Dr. Mary T. Bassett, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said, “We have worked closely with the State Health Department throughout this outbreak and we value our partnership. The State’s offer of free testing for building owners will strengthen our effort to protect the City from Legionella.”

Related news: 

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Legionnaires’: ‘Three additional cases identified, two additional deaths reported” 

New York City issues advisory after imported Brucella melitensis cases expose microbiology laboratory workers 

New York City: 4th case of neonatal herpes due to ritual Jewish circumcision reported this year