Elliot Olsen has decades of experience representing people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease, and he has regained millions of dollars in compensation. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires’ disease at Co-Op City, please call (612) 337-6126, or complete the following:
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) announced that it is investigating a Legionnaires’ disease cluster at Co-Op City in the Bronx. One of the three people sickened, an elderly resident, has died.
The three cases occurred in three connected buildings at the complex within the past year. The first case was reported last year, while two others occurred within the past 60 days. Had the illnesses occurred within the same six-month period, officials would then categorize it as an “outbreak” and not just a cluster.
All three people who were sickened had conditions that increased their prospects of catching Legionnaires’ disease. The two residents who survived have been released from the hospital, the DOHMH said.
The name of the deceased resident has not been released, and neither has the timeframe of their illness.
“Residents of this building who are over 50 or have underlying medical conditions should avoid showering until the investigation is completed,” the DOHMH warned in a statement. The DOHMH also said tap water is safe to drink.
The DOHMH will test the building’s plumbing to see if a common source of Legionella bacteria can be located (Legionella is the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease). The three buildings where the illnesses occurred do not have a cooling tower, but they do share the same plumbing system.
Co-Op City is largest
of its kind in world
Co-Op City, located in the Baychester section of the NYC borough, is the world’s largest cooperative housing development. It has more than 15,000 apartments in 35 high-rise buildings, with approximately 50,000 residents in seven townhouse groups.
Co-Op City is located at the intersection of Interstate 95 and the Hutchinson River Parkway. It is part of Bronx Community District 10.
Co-Op City and the Bronx:
A history of Legionnaires’
Between December 2014 and January 2015, there were eight cases of Legionnaires’ disease at Co-Op City. Those illnesses were linked to a cooling tower infected with Legionella. Seven of the eight people who became ill in that outbreak lived in different buildings.
At that time, Riverbay Corporation – Co-Op City’s management company – paid a chemical treatment company $200,000 to disinfect that water with chlorine and clean the tower to eliminate Legionella from the water system.
In 2012 and 2013, two residents in Building 27 of Co-Op City were sickened with Legionella, which they were believed to have contracted through contaminated shower heads. Tenants did not learn of those illnesses until early 2014, angering many of the residents. According to Riverbay officials, testing did not find Legionella, which is why residents weren’t told.
In 2015, cooling towers were the source of an outbreak in the Bronx in which 133 people were sickened, and 16 of them died. It was the largest outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in NYC history.
Residents, visitors to, and employees of Co-Op City who have recently suffered from or are currently suffering pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms should seek medical attention from their health-care provider. They should also report their illness to the DOHMH.
Legionnaires’ disease – also known as legionellosis and Legionella pneumonia – is a severe type of pneumonia or lung infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate about 25,000 cases of pneumonia due to Legionella bacteria (Legionella pneumophila) occur in the United States on a yearly basis.
Only 5,000 cases are reported, however, because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms. In addition, about 10 percent of people who become infected will die.
Legionella are contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets (mist or vapor). The bacteria grow best in warm water, and they are primarily found in human-made environments.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease are similar to those of other types of pneumonia, as well as flu:
- shortness of breath
- muscle aches
- gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea).
Who is most at risk?
Anyone can become ill from Legionella, but those most susceptible to infection include:
- people 50 or older
- smokers, both current and former
- heavy drinkers of alcohol
- people with chronic lung disease
- people with suppressed immune systems
- recipients of organ transplants
- individuals on specific drug protocols, such as corticosteroids.
Where do Legionella live?
Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks have been traced to a number of sources that are conducive to the growth of Legionella:
- large plumbing systems
- showers and faucets
- hot-water tanks and heaters
- swimming pools
- hot tubs and whirlpools
- decorative fountains
- mist machines and hand-held sprayers
- physical therapy equipment
- water systems, such as those used in hospitals, nursing homes, and hotels
- cooling towers of air conditioning systems.