City Tests Harlem NYCHA Complex For Legionnaire’s Bacteria

Water systems at a Harlem public housing complex is being tested for the bacteria that causes Legionnaire’s Disease after two residents fell ill with the disease in the past year, city health officials said.

Residents of the Drew Hamilton Houses — located between Frederick Douglass and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. boulevards in the lower West 140s — received notices in the mail that two of the complex’s buildings are being evaluated for signs of the Legionella Bacteria, a spokesman for the city Department of Health said. It’s city protocol to notify a building when two or more residents contract Legionnaire’s disease within a 12-month span.

Tenants at the buildings can still use and drink the water, but people with extra risk factors such as being 50 years or older or having chronic lung disease should take extra precautions. Those at risk of Legionnaire’s should not take showers because the fast-moving water can create water vapor that can spread the disease when breathed in, city officials said.

Residents of the complex who are experiencing flu-like symptoms, fever, cough or difficulty breathing should get immediate medical help, city officials said to our source.

The city will hold an info session for Drew Hamilton residents at the complex’s West 143rd Street community center Friday night at 6:30 p.m., city officials said.

Legionnaires’ symptoms include fever, cough, chills, muscle aches, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, confusion and diarrhea and generally surface two to 10 days after contact with the bacteria Legionella. Common culprits in the spread of the Legionella bacteria include cooling towers, whirlpool spas, hot tubs, humidifiers, hot water tanks, and evaporative condensers of large air-conditioning systems, the Department of Health said. The city sees an average of 200 to 500 cases of Legionnaires’ Disease each year, health officials said.

The disease cannot be spread from one person to another, the Department of Health said in a statement.

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