Deadly Legionnaires’ Outbreak Stokes Concern Among Residents Of Queens Building

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Residents of a Forest Hills apartment complex were concerned after a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak left one person dead, and made another ill.

“I’m a little freaked out,” Barney told 1010 WINS’ Darius Radzius.

Barney lives in the Madison building at the Parker Towers complex. Residents there received a letter from the city health department about two cases of Legionnaires’ disease that were found in the Queens Boulevard building.

Barney said he has some research to do.

“The first thing I’m going to do, literally after I leave here is go and save myself against it,” he said.

City officials said one person got sick, and another with existing health problems died.

“My goodness, I’m very very sorry to hear that,” Steve Harris said.

The health department has told residents that the water is safe to drink, but warned the elderly to take extra precautions.

Those at highest risk are people age 50 or older who smoke cigarettes, have lung disease, or weakened immune systems.

Legionnaires’ does not spread from person to person.

It’s caused by the bacteria legionella, according to the New York City Health Department, most cases can be traced to plumbing systems like cooling towers, whirlpool spas, hot tubs, humidifiers, hot water tanks, and large air conditioning systems.

The city started regular, mandatory inspections of cooling systems after a deadly Legionnaires’ outbreak in the South Bronx two-years-ago. In that case 12 people died.

Symptoms include fever, cough, chills, muscle aches, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, confusion and diarrhea, officials said. Symptoms typically appear 2-10 days after exposure to Legionella bacteria.

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