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Monday December 10, 2018

updated - December 10, 2018 Monday EST

Legionnaires’ Disease Bacteria Back In Sanitized NYC Cooling Towers; Outbreak May Be Subsiding

Oct 06, 2015 12:18 PM EDT | By Jason Fonbuena
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Legionnaires' Disease Outbreak, New York City
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NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio at Legionnaires' disease press conference
(Photo : Andrew Burton | Getty Images News)

A few months ago, 15 water-cooling towers in NYC have been disinfected following a Legionnaire's disease outbreak. But last week, they tested positive again.

Despite city officials mandating cooling towers throughout the city be cleaned regularly, bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease have reportedly grown back in disinfected towers in the Bronx's Morris Park, according to the New York Times.

"The testing occurred after a fresh outbreak in that area that has killed one person and sickened at least 12, and spurred an order from health officials for the towers to be disinfected again," the publication said.

New legislation passed after the first Legionnaire's disease outbreak requires building owners to clean cooling towers but they are now complaining about the costs involved.

Still, experts pointed out that the bacteria's return isn't at all surprising given that they thrive in warm weather. They reportedly added that "cleanings were only a short-term fix."

Clarity Water Technologies' Greg Frazier told NBC 4 New York that proper cleaning and maintenance are needed to keep Legionella from returning. The company is one of many that have been hired to clean NYC's cooling towers following the outbreak.

Frazier did express optimism that the recent cooler weather may spell the end of Legionnaires' disease in the Big Apple.

"Nine out of 10 times, the disinfection will be effective," Legionella Risk Management consulting engineer Tim Keane said, as quoted by NY Times.

"But if the treatment program and risk management program isn't in place after the disinfection, nine out of 10 times the bacteria will regrow again if it was there before."

According to a Huffington Post report, NYC officials also expressed hope that the latest outbreak is already subsiding noting that displayed symptoms before Sept. 21 predates the disease's seven-day incubation period.

The publication reported that Legionnaires' disease "is very treatable if caught in time" and can't be passed from person to person.

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