NEW YORK — Five people died of Legionnaires’ disease over the summer at a New York City nursing home that had been cited repeatedly for improper maintenance of the cooling towers where the Legionella bacteria can spread, The New York Times reported.
The outbreak at Amsterdam Nursing Home, a 409-bed facility in upper Manhattan, was the city’s worst since 2015 when a cooling tower in the Bronx was blamed for an infection that caused 16 deaths.
The home has restricted water use since the outbreak that ended in September, spokesperson Jeff Jacomowitz said. “All further tests have been coming back negative, and the facility has provided bottled water for drinking and for all sanitary uses.”
People can get Legionnaires’ disease when they breathe in water vapour containing the Legionella bacteria, which grows in wet environments including hot tubs, fountains and cooling towers. Deaths attributed to Legionnaires’ are rare, but the risk is higher for older populations such as nursing home residents.
Following the 2015 outbreak in the Bronx, New York City passed strict rules for maintaining cooling towers that include requiring building managers to register the towers with the city and submit to regular testing.
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