Niagara County NY sees outbreak of Legionnaires'

The New York State Department of Health and the Niagara County Department of Health are currently investigating a cluster of eight Legionnaires' infections potentially linked to Eastern Niagara Hospital in Lockport.

While the investigation is still in preliminary stages, a cooling tower at Eastern Niagara Hospital tested positive for Legionella bacteria. Several other cooling towers and potential sources in the area separate from the hospital are being tested. Gathered evidence has yet to establish a definitive link between the hospital and the cases of Legionnaires'.

"We take this issue seriously and promise to continue investigating these infections. The health of the community is our priority," said Daniel J. Stapleton, Niagara County Public Health director.

Legionnaires' disease is a type of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria. It can be contracted by inhaling mist from infected water sources such as air-conditioning facilities, steam rooms and plumbing systems. It is not spread by person-to-person contact or by drinking water.

Recently, a Legionnaires' outbreak in Hopkins, Minn., sickened more than 20 people, one of whom died. The outbreak was eventually linked to cooling towers at Citrus Systems, a beverage manufacturer in Hopkins.

More articles on infection control: 
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CDC: Flu activity low in first week of season

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