Officials: 1 person dead, 2 hospitalized after Legionnaires' outbreak in Nassau County - News 12 Bronx

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News 12 Staff

Oct 15, 2021, 11:04pm

Updated on: Oct 15, 2021, 11:04pm

Ten people were hospitalized with Legionnaires’ disease in a 1-mile radius of Wantagh Avenue and Old Jerusalem Road.

One person has died, and two others remain hospitalized. Seven people have been released from the hospital.

Residents tell News 12 they are concerned and hope the Department of Health releases more information.

Wantagh resident Christine Schlendorf says she wants to know where it came from.

“I want to know where the contamination originates from or where it actually comes from,” says Schlendorf. “That’s what I would be concerned about.”

Health officials say they are investigating the source, but that it is not from the water company supply in the area and has no connection to nearby schools.

The Department of Health says it was at some point in October when the cluster occurred. The people infected in the cluster are between 35 and 96 years old.

Legionnaires’ is a serious type of pneumonia. It can be contracted when breathing in mist or vapor containing the bacteria, most commonly found in faucets, showers and fountains.

Nassau Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein says environmental health teams are going to swab air conditioning systems in large buildings, check decorative fountains in front of stores, spray parks and swimming pools.

“Those are the types of water sources that can put a spray into the air,” Eisenstein says.

According to the Nassau County Department of Health’s website, those most at risk to become sick are those “50 years of age or older, current of former smokers, those with chronic lung disease, those with a weakened immune system, and people who take immunosuppressant medications.” 

The disease cannot be spread from person to person.

Health officials say they have seen a slight increase of Legionnaires’ disease across New York because of the warmer temperatures during the fall.

Symptoms of Legionnaires’ include coughing, shortness of breath, high fever, muscle aches and headaches. These symptoms can occur within two to 10 days of exposure.

Anyone with symptoms should contact their health care provider.

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