South Bronx residents on edge after Melrose Houses tests positive for Legionnaires’ bacteria

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A potentially new source of legionella bacteria has people in the South Bronx on edge. But the Mayor says the city is on it and is urging people to remain calm.

There are now four confirmed cases of legionnaires disease at the Melrose houses over the past 6 months.

At this point, it's unclear whether the most recent case stems from the outbreak in the South Bronx or if it's one of the 200 or so isolated cases the city sees each year.

But after testing each of the apartment buildings at the Melrose houses, at least one of the buildings tested positive for traces of the bacteria.

Officials from the health department handed out fliers to concerned residents at the Melrose houses Thursday.

The housing complex the latest South Bronx site to test positive for legionella bacteria.

"I heard it was in the South Bronx, I didn't know it was here," said Nay James, a nursing aid who looks after one of the building residents.

Young children and elderly are most vulnerable for the deadly disease, which is why James says she's worried about her patient who lives in the contaminated building.

"She's scared," said James.

The city tested the Melrose houses after confirming two cases of the disease in residents of the apartment buildings. That number now stands at four.

681 Courtlandt tested positive for traces of the bacteria. Tests from two other buildings came back negative, and the city is still waiting on results from the others.

"I want to stress very strongly that the drinking water is safe. The actions taken at 681 Courtlandt Avenue are from an abundance of caution," said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett.

It took less than two hours for the city to address the issue after learning about the positive test Wednesday night.

The Housing Authority turned off hot water in the building, and put filters on the faucets.

But Thursday afternoon information about the problem continued to trickle from neighbor to neighbor causing some concern.

The Mayor reminded everyone that the disease is easily treatable if it's identified early. If you have any flu like symptoms don't hesitate to get treatment right away.