The health department held a meeting at Co-op City on Tuesday to discuss the issue with residents.
Brenda Hines, whose son contracted Legionnaires’ disease said “I was shocked, horrified, because he was in the ICU with it forever, at least nine days with it. So it was very, very scary.”
According to Jeff Buss, general counsel for Co-op City, the health department contacted Co-op City in order to conduct an investigation and test for Legionella. Testing revealed that Legionella was present in the cooling tower.
Co-op City was ordered to decontaminate the towers and shut them down.
Co-op City has experienced cases of Legionnaires’ disease in past years as well, which leaves residents concerned about their health.
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Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia that is contracted when a person inhales tiny water droplets contaminated with the bacteria. It is not commonly contracted through drinking water. The first incidences of Legionnaires’ disease were identified in 1976 in Philadelphia at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel during a Legionnaires’ convention due to a contaminated water cooling tower. During this convention, a total of 221 people contracted the illness, 34 of whom died.