Medicine:2015 Bronx Legionnaires' disease outbreaks

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2015 Bronx Legionnaires' disease outbreaks
Lincoln Hospital 149 Park rain jeh.jpg
Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, one of five buildings where the second outbreak was spread
DateDecember 2014 (2014-12) (first outbreak)
July 2015 (2015-07) (second outbreak)
Duration2 months (first outbreak)
1.5 months[1] (second outbreak)
LocationThe Bronx, New York City :
  • first outbreak: Co-op City cooling towers
  • second outbreak: five buildings including Lincoln Hospital and Concourse Plaza Cooling Towers
Causeunder investigation
OutcomeAffected buildings were ordered to be decontaminated within 14 days, under the threat of misdemeanor charges
Non-fatal injuriesOver 100

In 2015, there were two outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease in the Bronx, New York City , United States. Between January and August 2015, one hundred and thirty people in New York City were infected with Legionnaires', but the majority of them were in the Bronx.[2]

Legionnaires Disease is an acute type of pneumonia that is caused by the inhalation of aerosolized water containing the Legionella bacteria.[3] Forty-two Legionella species have been classified to date, and these bacteria can grow in areas where there is warm water, such as cooling towers.[4][5]

Legionella pneumophila bacteria

January 2015

In January 2015, Legionnaires' disease sickened 8 people near Co-op City's cooling towers in the northeast Bronx. Twelve people were diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease between December 2014 and the end of the outbreak in January 2015.[6]

August 2015

In an unrelated July and August 2015 outbreak, the disease affected at least 120 people and caused at least twelve deaths in the South Bronx area.[7] The cause of the outbreak was traced back to the Opera House Hotel on July 10, 2015, and was declared as over as of August 20. Following the Morrisania outbreak, city officials stated that they would be pursuing new regulations for cooling towers.[2][8][9][10] Affected buildings were also ordered to be decontaminated within 14 days, under the threat of misdemeanor charges.[7]

September 2015

On September 21, 2015, 13 more cases of Legionnaires Disease were identified and were said to be unrelated to the outbreaks from previous months. 35 cooling towers were inspected and 15 of these tested positive for the Legionella bacteria. After the cases surfaced, city officials put legislative programs into effect that require building owners to perform quarterly inspections and to verify that the cooling towers have been tested and are free of the Legionnella bacteria.[11]


  1. Williams, Jaime (2015-08-28). "The fat lady sings • Bronx Times". 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "A Belated Look at New York's Cooling Towers, Prime Suspect in Legionnaires' Outbreak". The New York Times. 4 August 2015. 
  3. Euser, Sjoerd M; Boogmans, Bas; Brandsema, Petra; Wouters, Mieke; Den Boer, Jeroen W (2014). "Legionnaires' disease after using an industrial pressure test pump: A case report". Journal of Medical Case Reports 8: 31. doi:10.1186/1752-1947-8-31. PMID 24467827. 
  4. Yu, Victor L.; Plouffe, Joseph F.; Pastoris, Maddalena Castellani; Stout, Janet E.; Schousboe, Mona; Widmer, Andreas; Summersgill, James; File, Thomas et al. (2002). "Distribution of Legionella Species and Serogroups Isolated by Culture in Patients with Sporadic Community‐Acquired Legionellosis: An International Collaborative Survey". The Journal of Infectious Diseases 186 (1): 127–8. doi:10.1086/341087. PMID 12089674. 
  5. "Legionnaires' Disease". The City of New York. 
  6. Ben Kochman (13 January 2015). "Co-op City towers contaminated with Legionnaire's Disease bacteria". New York Daily News. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Legionnaires' Disease Continues To Spread In South Bronx". Huffington Post. Associated Press. 6 August 2015. 
  8. "Legionnaires' Disease Bacteria Found in A/C on Bronx Hospital, Mayor says". DNAinfo New York. 
  9. David Shortell, CNN (2 August 2015). "There have been 65 cases since mid-July -". CNN. 
  10. "City confirms 71 cases of Legionnaire's Disease". 
  11. Mueller, Benjamin (1 October 2015). "One Dead in New Bronx Outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease". The New York Times. The New York Times.