Health officials have identified a Harlem Hospital cooling tower as the source of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Harlem that sickened 18 people in Harlem last month. Two people remain hospitalized.


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Legionnaires’ disease is a severe, often fatal, form of pneumonia that is transmitted when contaminated water vapor contaminated with Legionella bacteria is inhaled. It is not spread through person-to-person contact. Legionella bacteria are found in nature but grow best in the warm stagnant water of man-made structures, especially the plumbing and air conditioning systems of large buildings.

NYC Health said lab tests confirmed that the strain of Legionnaires’ disease found in one of the hospital’s cooling towers matched the strain cultured from the outbreak patients.  The cooling tower and others in the area were disinfected and should no longer pose a threat to the community, the health department said. But health officials remind residents that anyone experiencing severe flu-like symptoms should seek immediate medical care.

Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease are similar to COVID-19. They include shortness of breath, cough, headache, fever, and muscle aches. Most Legionnaires’ disease patients require hospitalization, about 10 percent of cases are fatal.

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Legionella in the Lungs
Legionnella bacteria found in pneumonia patient.

Experienced Legionnaires’ Disease Lawyers

Our experienced team of  Legionnaires’ disease lawyers represents people nationwide who have been sickened by contaminated water and the families of those who have suffered the wrongful death of a loved one. If you or a loved one developed Legionnaires’ disease, our legal team can help. For a free consultation, please fill out the form below, call 1-888-377-8900, or text 612-261-0856.

We are not paid unless you win. Submitting this form does not create an attorney-client relationship.