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Chemung County Health Department Provides Update on Legionella Investigation 10-31-2019


CHEMUNG COUNTY
  Department of Health 
103 Washington Street

P.O. BOX 588
Elmira, New York  14902-0588
(607) 737-2028  FAX (607) 737-2016

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 31, 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.  The total number of ill patients in this cluster is 9.  A third round of environmental sampling has been conducted and an update will be provided upon receipt of those results.  All ill patients are recovering.  The heath department continues to work with the patients and NYSDOH on this investigation.  In addition, the NYSDOH’s review of the Chemung County Nursing Facility (CCNF) has shown that their single legionella case was a random event and not indicative of a larger issue.  Testing shows CCNF’s legionella case is not related to the legionella cluster investigation.  Regular follow-up sampling will be conducted at CCNF for monitoring purposes.  

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