A Queens resident is dead and another was sickened after they both contracted Legionnaires’ disease within a two-month period, prompting New York City health officials to investigate their apartment building’s plumbing.
The other residents of Park Towers, located on Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills, have been notified of the ongoing investigation.
“The Health Department is working with the building management to test the building’s hot water plumbing system,” a New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene spokesman said, according to NBC New York. “The building does not have a cooling tower. While the risk of infection to tenants is very low, as part of our protocol, the Department will notify residents about the investigation and next steps.”
While authorities did not identify either victim, they said the fatality involved an elderly resident.
“It makes my stomach sick,” Denise Innes, a building resident, told NBC New York. “I feel like I don’t know, I’m nervous now to use the water.”
In 2015, there were multiple clusters of Legionnaires’ disease in the Bronx. Twelve people died in the largest one, which was in the South Bronx.
Symptoms of Legionnaires’ can mimic the flu and present as cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches and headaches. Symptoms typically begin two to 10 days after exposure, and could progress to lung failure or even death without treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one out of every 10 Legionnaires’ patients will die due to complications form their illness.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.