MORRIS PARK, Bronx – City health and elected officials tried to calm the nerves of anxious Bronx residents who are concerned over the new cluster of Leionnaires cases reported this week.
More than 300 residents of Morris Park crammed into a local catering hall to ask questions and seek answers. Bronx Borough President Reuben Diaz Jr. asked, "Why does this always come back to the Bronx? It can't be just happening here."
But it has in recent months. In August, an outbreak of Legionnaires disease traced to bacteria in a cooling tower, claimed 12 lives and sickened more than 120 others. Alarm was rekindled this past Monday when it was revealed that 13 new cases had been reported. One person died and eight others remain hospitalized.
Public Advocate Letitia James noted that 35 cooling towers had been inspected over the weekend and 15 tested positive. She said that yet to be determined is why those particular towers were the source of the sickening bacteria.
State Senator Jeff Klein attempted to allay the fears of residents. "It's important to calm ourselves while we seek real answers." he said.
He reassured everyone by telling them that the water is safe and that the disease cannot be transmitted from one person to another.
Those sickened in the latest outbreak had pre-existing health conditions and it was believed they had symptoms well in advance of the latest onset of this latest outbreak.
A number of Bronx residents who lined up for the forum hours in advance voiced frustration that they didn't get adequate answers to their questions.
Meantime officials said their investigation is continuing.