1 Dead In Washington Heights Legionnaires' Outbreak

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) -- One person has died in the latest outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Washington Heights.

The person’s name has not been released.

New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said the outbreak has made a total of 16 people sick, and seven of them are still hospitalized.

Legionnaires’ outbreaks have often been associated with cooling towers. The Health Department emphasized that New York City has the strongest enforcement on cooling towers in the nation and is working to prevent more people from getting sick.

“The Health Department has investigated every cooling tower in the area, ordering landlords to remediate where necessary and has provided information to residents,” Barbot said in a statement. “The risk to residents of contracting Legionnaire’s disease remains very low; however, adults with flu-like symptoms, like fever, cough, or difficulty breathing should seek immediate medical attention so a doctor can determine whether Legionella testing is needed.”

Legionnaires' disease is contracted by breathing in water droplets contaminated with the bacterium Legionella. Symptoms can include fever, chills and muscle aches.

Councilmember Mark Levine (D-7th) says those who have spent time in the neighborhood and have symptoms should go to a doctor.

More than 20 people were also infected with Legionnaires’ in Washington Heights in July.

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