Legionella Outbreaks in New York
So the summer is officially over. Back to the grind of every day life. Sitting at your desk day dreaming about being back on your sun bed on the white sandy beaches of Mexico, or exploring the boutiques and Patisseries of Paris. Or maybe you’re already planning your next escape from the office, picturing yourself strolling around New York amongst the snow and fairy lights. But before you click “book” on that perfect hotel, just take a moment to ensure you and your partner, family or friends will have a safe and happy holiday. Back in August New York saw the biggest Legionella outbreak in the city’s history. With 12 people dead, and 128 people affected by legionella bacteria from the cooling tower of the New York City’s Opera House hotel, and a further death and 12 cases from another outbreak in the Bronx, you need to be doing everything you can to reduce the risks. Following these contaminations, a further 35 cooling towers were tested in the Morris Park neighbourhood and 15 of them tested positive for the Legionella bacteria. Since the first outbreak, legislation has passed so that every cooling tower in the city was to be tested and cleaned, so whilst the risk of infection now is minimal, here are a few things you can do to reduce the risk even further…
1) Running the shower for five minutes before getting in can reduce exposure to stagnating legionella bacteria.
2) If you are more at risk from infection, e.g. if you have a weakened immune system, are a heavy smoker or are over 60, you may want to consider avoiding water systems that could be contaminated, such as spas.
3) And most importantly, if you feel any flu like symptoms or you develop a persistent cough, seek medical attention as soon as you can. It usually takes six to seven days between getting the infection and the start of symptoms (known as the incubation period), although it can be any time from two to 19 days.
So if you’re lucky enough to be travelling abroad over the coming seasons then (were very jealous) we want you to have a great time! We just don’t want you coming back with more than a tacky souvenir for mum, and a postcard for your dog.