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Preventable Legionnaires' Disease Cuts Through New York

The most important thing to know about Legionnaires’ disease is that it is preventable.

Legionnaires’ Disease is a type of pneumonia caused by a bacterium called Legionella pneumophila, or simply “Legionella.” The bacterium gets into the body by inhalation, which is why it thrives in the heating and air conditioning ducts of large buildings and cruise ships.

New York City recently saw one of the worst outbreaks of Legionella since 1976, with the South Bronx as the epicenter. Early on in its investigation of the infections, the Department of Health determined that the “patient zero” of this epidemic was in fact the cooling tower of a hotel in the South Bronx. City officials investigated 39 other buildings with the same type of cooling tower and 14 were found to be contaminated. After the water-filled towers were disinfected there were no new cases of the infection.

Until earlier this month.

Four more people have become sick with Legionella in recent weeks. These infections occurred at a city-owned housing complex called the Melrose Houses, also in the South Bronx. All four of the people were treated and incurred staggering hospital bills. Through no fault of their own, these New Yorkers’ lives have been uprooted.

Visitors and residents of New York City have the right to assume that they will not fall ill to an infection that is completely preventable.

To be sure, refer to this list of symptoms associated with Legionnaires’ disease:

  • Fever and chills
  • A cough which may be dry or produce blood
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion

These symptoms can have a deleterious effect on one’s ability to work or perform other important duties. Luckily, there are options available to victims of negligence.

In New York State, personal injury attorneys are compensated based on contingency; they collect no fees unless they have secured an award for their client. If you or someone you know resides in a building that has been the site of Legionella infections, contact Levine and Wiss today to learn how to safeguard your and your family’s rights.