Legionella Testing / Biosafety Training


Dr Richard W Gilpin’s Blog

Cooling Tower Source of New York City July Legionellosis Outbreak



A ProMED-mail post http://www.promedmail.org

ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases http://www.isid.org

Date: Tue 14 Aug 2018

Source: NBC New York [edited]


A legionnaires' outbreak that sickened 27 people and led to one person's death has been traced to a housing complex in Upper Manhattan [New York City].

The Legionella strain found in the tower matched the strain found in 6 patients affected by the cluster, the health department said.

The cooling tower at The Sugar Hill Project, at 898 St Nicholas Ave, near West 155th Street, was the likely source of the cluster found in Washington Heights, the city's Health Department said.

"The facility fully cooperated with the Health Department in the investigation, cleaned and disinfected its cooling tower on [13 Jul 2018] and is working with the Health Department on long-term maintenance to meet the city's cooling tower regulations," the department said.

The department's news came as the MTA [Metropolitan Transportation Authority] confirmed that 2 agency employees have contracted unrelated cases of legionnaires' disease. The employees, who work at 2 different locations, were both treated for the disease, MTA Bridges and Tunnels said. "Out of an abundance of caution we are working with the State Health Department to conduct a full investigation," the agency said.

Communicated by:

ProMED-mail from HealthMap Alerts

[Initially a total of 8 cases of legionnaires' disease was reported in mid-July 2018 in lower Washington Heights neighborhood of upper Manhattan, New York City (ProMED-mail post Legionellosis - USA (08): (NYC) http://promedmail.org/post/20180714.5905733); then an additional 8 cases were reported several days later (Legionellosis - USA (09): (NYC) more cases http://promedmail.org/post/20180718.5912642

Washington Heights is a mainly residential neighborhood in the northern portion of the New York City borough of Manhattan, in the US state of New York; Washington Heights is bounded on the south by West 115th Street and on the north by the neighborhood of Inwood https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Heights,_Manhattan

We are now told that there has been a total of 27 cases with 1 death traced to a cooling tower of a housing complex (The Sugar Hill Project, at 898 St Nicholas Ave) located just south of West 155th Street. The Sugar Hill housing complex is thus actually located in the Sugar Hill neighborhood, just south of Washington Heights. A map showing the location of the Sugar Hill Project can be found at https://www.google.com/maps/place/898+St+Nicholas+Ave,+New+York,+NY+10032

The news report above also mentions 2 Metropolitan Transportation Authority employees with legionnaires' disease that are under investigation, but are said to be unrelated to the Sugar Hill Project outbreak.

This source for the Sugar Hill Project outbreak was confirmed by most likely matching the genotype of Legionella isolates from 6 patients with that from the cooling tower. Presumably, the diagnosis in the other patients was based on urinary Legionella antigen testing, in which case there would be no isolates available for genotyping. - Mod.ML

[See Also:

Legionellosis - USA (09): (NYC) more cases http://promedmail.org/post/20180718.5912642

Legionellosis - USA (08): (NYC) http://promedmail.org/post/20180714.5905733

Legionellosis - USA (06): (NYC) fatal, apartment complex http://promedmail.org/post/20180426.5770154


Legionellosis - USA (20): (NYC) elder community, RFI http://promedmail.org/post/20171111.5438086

Legionellosis - USA (19): (NYC) more cases, RFI http://promedmail.org/post/20171104.5424825

Legionellosis - USA (18): (NYC) RFI http://promedmail.org/post/20171026.5404788

Legionellosis - USA (16): (NYC) fatal, apartment complex, RFI http://promedmail.org/post/20170924.5336870

Legionellosis - USA (07): (NYC) http://promedmail.org/post/20170617.5112715

Legionellosis - USA (05): (FL,NYC,NV) http://promedmail.org/post/20170613.5102471]