PARK SLOPE – Legionella bacteria was found during a Department of Health inspection in the water system at the New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital.
“The water supply of many large buildings and hospitals often contains small amounts of Legionella bacteria, and most people who are exposed to Legionella will not become ill,” said a NewYork-Presbyterian spokesperson. “If Legionella does cause an infection, it is treatable with antibiotics and does not generally pose a threat to the public.”
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says Legionella grows in “large, complex water systems that are not adequately maintained.”
The bacteria can cause Pontiac Fever or Legionnaires’ disease, a type of pneumonia (lung infection), to those exposed, and people most at increased risk include:
- People 50 years or older
- Current or former smokers
- People with a chronic lung disease (like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or emphysema)
- People with weak immune systems or who take drugs that weaken the immune system (like after a transplant operation or chemotherapy)
- People with cancer
- People with underlying illnesses such as diabetes, kidney failure, or liver failure
The Hospital has already taken steps to clean its water system and has implemented water restrictions.
“The health and safety of our patients and staff is always our primary concern. Out of an abundance of caution and consistent with our safety protocol, we have implemented water restrictions,” a spokesperson of the Hospital said. “We work with the State and City Departments of Health to maintain a clean water supply and have already taken steps to disinfect our water sources.”