Legionnaire’s disease-causing bacteria found in Co-op City cooling towers

Bronx
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

THE BRONX (PIX11) — The New York City Department of Health has confirmed that legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaire’s disease, has been found in cooling towers at Co-op City.

Since December 2014, 12 cases of Legionnaire’s disease — which is a severe form of pneumonia — have been diagnosed. Eight of those cases are Co-op City residents.

The bacteria has been found in the water used to cool Co-op City’s heating and electrical systems and is separate from the water residents use to drink, bathe and cook with.

“What I wanted to convey to everyone is that we’re taking every measure and every step that we possibly can to decontaminate the cooling towers,” said Jeffrey Buss, general counsel for the River Bay Corporation, which manages Co-Op City.

Stylized view of Legionella pneumophila, the bacteria which causes Legionnaires' disease. (Photo: Getty Images)

Stylized view of Legionella pneumophila, the bacteria which causes Legionnaires’ disease. (Photo: Getty Images)

“The Health Department is continuing its investigation to determine if the cooling towers are the source of these recent cases,” the department said in a press release. “Although no determination has been made that the cooling towers are the cause of any reported case of Legionnaires Disease, the Health Department instructed River Bay to take immediate steps to decontaminate the cooling tower in order to minimize the risk.”

Symptoms of Legionnaire’s disease include fever, chills, cough, muscle aches, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, confusion and occasionally diarrhea.

The disease is caused by significant exposure to legionella bacteria and cannot be spread from person to person.

“In order to safeguard residents, employees and the community, Co-op City is working with the New York City Department of Health to eliminate legionella bacteria which preliminary Health Department tests indicate may exist at a cooling tower operated by the affordable housing cooperative located in the Bronx,” Riverbay Corp. said in a statement.

“The Health Department is concerned about this sudden increase in Legionnaires’ disease in the Bronx,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett. “We are conducting a thorough investigation and working closely with River Bay Corporation to minimize the public risk and to prevent future cases. I urge anyone with symptoms to seek medical attention right away.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Bronx Videos

3 injured in Bronx hair salon floor collapse: FDNY

Families gather at tree lighting to remember murdered loved ones

Video: Men beat deliver worker with brick, tear his pants in Bronx robbery

Brownsville woman helps thousands of children through agency

Hundreds of Bronx NYCHA residents get free wi-fi, $11 laptops — and program is expanding

Bronx teen grateful to be alive as he celebrates 14th birthday days after being shot in neck

More Bronx

Connect with PIX11 Online

Connect with PIX11 Online

Trending Stories

Follow us on Facebook

Don't Miss