Legionnaire’s Outbreak Traces Bacteria To Lincoln Hospital and Concourse Plaza Mall as Number Of Cases Rises to 46

Lincoln Medical Center
Lincoln Medical Center

Two air conditioning units—one at Lincoln Hospital and the other at Concourse Plaza Mall—both have been found to have traces of Legionnaire’s which has sickened 46 individuals in the South Bronx and killed two however none of the individuals were patients at the hospital.

It is important to know that this is not a communicable disease transferred from person to person contact and equally important to know the symptoms and get treatment immediately as this is a very curable infection.

Symptoms include: fever, cough, chills, muscle aches, diarrhea, loss of appetite, confusion, fatigue, and headaches.

According to WABC-TV:

“The New York City Health Department is working to track down the source of the outbreak, which has been called “unusual.” Legionnaires’ disease is caused by the bacteria Legionella.

“In terms of Lincoln Hospital, it does not come through the water,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “It can only come through the air that is dispersed out of the cooling towers, the mist that is dispersed out of them. So we know we have a localized problem.”

“No employees, no patients in the hospital have acquired Legionnaires’ there,” said city Health Commissioner Mary Bassett. “They have acquired it in the neighborhood and we don’t fully understand how.”

Health officials are testing water from cooling towers and other potential sources in the area to determine the source of the outbreak. The city has identified 20 cooling towers in the Bronx that need to be tested.

New Yorkers with respiratory symptoms, such as fever, cough, chills and muscle aches, are advised to promptly seek medical attention.”

For more information on Legionella, the bacteria which causes Legionnaire’s, visit the CDC’s website or read below from their site:

Legionnaires’ disease (LEE-juh-nares) is caused by a type of bacteria called Legionella. The Legionellabacteria are found naturally in the environment, usually in water. The bacteria grow best in warm water, like the kind found in

  • Hot tubs
  • Cooling towers
  • Hot water tanks
  • Large plumbing systems
  • Decorative fountains

They do not seem to grow in car or window air-conditioners.

Spread of Disease

People get Legionnaires’ disease when they breathe in a mist or vapor (small droplets of water in the air) containing the bacteria. One example might be from breathing in droplets sprayed from a hot tub that has not been properly cleaned and disinfected. The bacteria are not spread from one person to another person.

Man in hot tub

The bacteria are NOT spread from one person to another person.


Most people exposed to the bacteria do not become ill. If you have reason to believe you were exposed to the bacteria, talk to your doctor or local health department. Be sure to mention if you have traveled in the last two weeks.

A person diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease in the workplace is not a threat to others who share office space or other areas with him or her. However, if you believe that your workplace was the source of the person’s illness, contact your local health department. – Via CDC website

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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.