An outbreak of Legionnaire's disease is spreading through Manhattan's Washington Heights and Hamilton Heights neighborhoods, leaving nearly a dozen people sick and hospitalized.

Legionnaire's disease bacteria

At least 11 people in Upper Manhattan have been diagnosed with Legionnaire's disease. Three new diagnoses were confirmed today, on July 12, 2018, CBS New York reports.

Officials at the New York City Health Department are now investigating the cluster of diagnoses, all of which have been reported in Washington Heights and Hamilton Heights.

Legionnaire's Disease Outbreak Rocks Manhattan

All but 1 of the sickened New Yorkers has been hospitalized. Most of the patients are in their 50s or older, with the youngest diagnosed patient being 40. Thankfully, no deaths have yet been linked to the outbreak.

City health officials believe the source of the outbreak could a cooling tower in the neighborhood. Water tests are underway in the area. Officials held a community meeting on the issue Thursday night at Saint Luke's AME Church.

At the meeting, reporters from CBS New York spoke with Lorenzo McGougan, 60, who was diagnosed with the disease in May. "It almost killed me," McGougan said. "Believe, I was near there. I've never been that sick in my life."

McGougan asked officials at the meeting why the water cooling tower at his apartment building wasn't inspected immediately after he had contracted the bacterial infection. "This right here could've been prevented," he said.

Symptoms Of Legionnaire's Disease

Legionnaire's disease is not contagious. A life-threatening lung infection caused by the bacterium legionella, Legionnaire's disease generally begins as a particularly severe case of pneumonia. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of Legionnaire's disease include:
  • headache
  • chills
  • muscle pain
  • fever
Over time, the symptoms intensify to include chest pain, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cough with bloody or mucus-filled discharge and cognitive impairment.

Contact A Medical Professional Immediately

Any one experiencing several of these symptoms should contact their doctor as soon as possible. If you have flu-like symptoms in Manhattan, don't hesitate to seek help.

While Legionnaire's disease can be effectively treated with antibiotics if caught early, it can turn fatal if left untreated. No deaths have yet been reported in relation to the recent outbreak, but nearly all of the patients infected have been hospitalized overnight.

Washington, Hamilton Heights Water Coolers Under Investigation

Every year, anywhere between 10,000 and 18,000 Americans contract Legionnaire's disease, reports. Most people get it by inhaling the bacteria, with older people and smokers being particularly vulnerable.

As we've seen, City health officials believe the bacteria that causes Legionnaire's disease may be spreading through the water system in Washington and Hamilton Heights. It could be inhaled as water vapor from hot or boiling water.

Contact An Experienced Manhattan Attorney

Were you or a loved one diagnosed with Legionnaire's disease in New York? Our experienced personal injury attorneys are here to help. You may be eligible to pursue valuable financial compensation by filing a civil lawsuit. Money may be available for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

To learn more about your legal options, contact our dedicated legal team today for a free consultation. We only offer our services on a contingency-fee basis; you owe us nothing until we secure damages in your case. Just call or fill out our contact form to learn more.

The Legal Herald

About Paul Amess


Paul is a staff editor who focuses on bringing you the most important legal news regarding cases of sexual assault, drunk driving, and preventable violence.

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