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What is Legionnaires’ disease?
Legionnaires’ disease (or Legionellosis) is a type of pneumonia. It is caused by a type of bacteria (Legionella) that grows in warm water.
Is the disease contagious?
No. Legionnaires’ disease is not spread from person to person. People only get sick by breathing in water vapor containing the bacteria (for example, by inhaling contaminated mist from faucets, showers, whirlpools or cooling towers). People who are sick cannot make others sick.
Who is at risk?
Groups at high risk include people who are middle-aged or older—especially cigarette smokers—people with chronic lung disease or weakened immune systems and people who take medicines that weaken their immune systems (immunosuppressive drugs).
What are the symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease?
Symptoms resemble other types of pneumonia and can include fever, chills, muscle aches and cough. Some people may also have headaches, fatigue, loss of appetite, confusion or diarrhea.
What should I do if I think I have Legionnaires’ disease?
If you have symptoms such as fever, chills and cough, call a doctor and get checked for pneumonia. If you have a medical condition that affects your breathing, like emphysema, or if you are a smoker, ask your doctor about testing for Legionnaires’ disease.
What is the treatment for Legionnaires’ disease?
The disease is treated with antibiotics. Most people get better with early treatment, although they may need to be hospitalized. In rare cases, people may get very sick or even die from complications of the disease.
What is the situation in Flushing, Queens?
The New York City Health Department learned about 13 people who got sick with Legionnaires’ Disease in Flushing, Queens in April and May 2015. The Health Department found that three of the people live in Bland House. The Department is still investigating how the other 10 people got sick.
What is the Health Department doing about this problem?
The Health Department is interviewing all patients to find out if multiple people got sick in the same place. The Health Department sent out information to doctors to let them know about these cases and to remind them to watch for symptoms in their patients and to test for Legionella, if indicated.
What is the Health Department doing at the Bland House senior center?
The Health Department tested Bland House to find out the source of the Legionnaires’ Disease infections. Early tests suggest that the bacteria that cause Legionnaires’ Disease may be in the senior center. More tests are needed to find out if this caused the outbreak. To keep the public safe, the Health Department recommended that no one should use tap water in the senior center until further notice.
I live in Bland House or visit Bland House, but I don’t feel sick. Should I see my doctor?
There is no need to see your doctor if you are not sick. But if you are feeling sick with pneumonia symptoms (such as fever, cough, chills, muscle aches) then you should see your doctor right away and ask for a test for Legionnaires’ Disease.