Five people have been sickened by Legionnaires’ disease at a senior-care facility in the Bronx, NY, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) has confirmed.
The five residents of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale were diagnosed with pneumonia last month. Soon thereafter, they tested positive for Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease.
The infected individuals are recovering after being treated with antibiotics, according to a Hebrew Home representative.
The care facility began operations in 1917 as The Hebrew Home for the Aged (above). It was started by a small synagogue in Harlem and moved to its current location (5901 Palisade Avenue, Riverdale, left) in 1951.
The 32-acre RiverSpring Health campus along the Hudson River is home to more than 12,000 residents, patients, and members.
Almost 25,000 cases in the U.S. annually
Legionnaires’ disease – also called Legionellosis or Legionella pneumonia – is a severe type of pneumonia or lung infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 25,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease occur in the United States each year, but only 5,000 cases are reported because of the disease’s nonspecific signs and symptoms.
The CDC estimates 10 percent of those infected will die because of complications. The odds are worse for individuals who take ill at health-care facilities: 25 percent of those victims will succumb to the disease.
Contracting Legionnaires’ disease
Legionella bacteria are contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets, usually in the form of vapor or mist. The bacteria, which grow best in warm water, are found primarily in human-made environments.
Outbreaks have been linked to a range of sources:
- cooling towers in air conditioning systems
- decorative fountains
- hot tubs and whirlpools
- hot water tanks and heaters
- large plumbing systems
- showers and faucets
- swimming pools
- equipment used in physical therapy
- water systems like those used in hospitals, and nursing homes.
Elliot Olsen has decades of experience representing people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease, and he has regained millions of dollars in compensation for his clients. If you or a family member has become sick because of this outbreak, please call him at 612-337-6126, or complete the following: