Peter Buzzetti III, MPH Lisa Buckley, BSN, RN
Public Health Director Director of Patient Services
“Chemung County Health Department Provides Update on Legionella Investigation”
October 24, 2019
Legionella cases are reported sporadically throughout the year. The Chemung County Health Department and New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) continue to investigate a cluster of Legionellosis cases in the county. No new cases in this cluster have been reported since September 27, 2019. The total number of ill patients in this cluster is 9. Testing has ruled out several patients that were previously counted as part of this cluster. Health Department staff have conducted a third round of environmental sampling. Preliminary data shows no link between the samples and the ill patients. Several results are still pending however and we will provide updated information upon receipt of those test results. In total, none of the environmental samples taken during the three rounds of sampling have been linked to any ill patients. All ill patients are recovering. The Heath Department continues to work with the patients and NYSDOH on this investigation.
It is important to know the following about Legionellosis;
- Legionellosis is caused by infection with Legionella bacteria. Multiple possible sources are being investigated such as cooling towers, water tanks, large plumbing systems and fountains. Most of the time, results are negative for Legionella bacteria.
- Legionella is typically transmitted by breathing in tiny water droplets present in the air contaminated with the bacteria, not by drinking the water nor by being in contact with someone who is ill with Legionella. Public water systems are not commonly found to be sources of Legionella outbreaks.
- Most healthy individuals do not become infected with Legionella bacteria when exposed. People at higher risk of getting sick are those with a history of chronic disease, smoking, chronic lung disease, cancer or weakened immune systems.
- There is no need for the public to modify their activities in light of this increase in cases. However, persons with respiratory illness should contact their primary care physician or seek health care.
If you have any question regarding Legionella, please call the Health Department at (607) 737-2028.
View a Legionellosis Fact Sheet at: http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/legionellosis/fact_sheet.htm