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What to Know

  • Legionella bacteria was found at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Queens, officials announced Friday.[hhmc]

  • It is unclear if there are any cases Legionnaires disease in connection to the discovered bacteria.[hhmc]

  • Legionnaires disease is a type of pneumonia that is caused by Legionella, which tends to grow in warm water.[hhmc]

Legionella bacteria was found at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Queens, the hospital announced Friday.

Hospital workers detected the presence of the bacteria — which causes Legionnaires disease —in a portion of the North Building while testing the water. However, it was not found in any of the other hospital buildings.

The hospital is working with state and city health officials to maintain a clean water supply and has begun to disinfect the water while at the same time implementing water restrictions.

Hospital workers say they received a notice Friday morning.

Luca Bruno/AP

It is unclear if there are any cases Legionnaires disease in connection to the discovered bacteria.

Legionnaires disease is a type of pneumonia that is caused by Legionella, which tends to grow in warm water.

The disease is contracted by breathing in water droplets contaminated with the bacterium. In most cases, the bacterium can be traced to plumbing systems where conditions are favorable for Legionella growth.

The disease is not passed from person to person.

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The city sees an average of 200 to 500 Legionnaires' cases each year.

In a statement, New York-Presbyterian Queens said: “It is important to note that the water supply of many large buildings and hospitals often contains small amounts of legionella bacteria, and most people who are exposed to legionella will not become ill.”

The hospital also mentioned that if legionella does cause an infection, it is treatable with antibiotics and does not generally pose a threat to the public.

In July, legionella bacteria was detected at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx.

Additionally, one person died mid-October in a cluster of Legionnaires' disease cases in lower Washington Heights that has stricken over a dozen people. The Health Department said that person had underlying health conditions.

This was the second cluster of Legionnaires' disease in the same Manhattan neighborhood where more than 20 people were infected with the disease in July and resulted in one death.

A cooling tower in the Sugar Hill residential development was identified as the source of that Legionnaires' cluster.

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USA Today

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