Via The New York Times: Rikers Inmate Has Legionnaires’ Disease; Officials Find No Link to Outbreak. Excerpt:
A Rikers Island inmate has Legionnaires’ disease, New York City officials said on Tuesday, quickly adding that it was unlikely the case was connected to an outbreak in the South Bronx that has killed 12 people since early July.
The 63-year-old inmate, whose illness was diagnosed on Monday, was taken to the jail ward of Bellevue Hospital Center, and is being treated with antibiotics. The inmate’s name, like those of other patients, was not released, but city officials said the inmate had other medical problems as well, as have a large number of the 115 people who have come down with the disease.
Officials did not say whether they believed the inmate had contracted Legionnaires’ while at Rikers, but as a precaution, they said all cooling towers and shower heads, potential sources of the Legionella bacteria that cause the disease, were being cleaned and disinfected.
They also noted that the city usually sees at least 200 cases of Legionnaires’ disease a year, almost all of them isolated instances. (On Tuesday, GlaxoSmithKline, the drug company, shut down a North Carolina manufacturing plant after Legionella was found during routine testing of a cooling tower.)
New York City’s Correction Department was consulting with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and had “taken precautions to minimize the risks associated with this form of bacteria,” Monica Klein, a deputy press secretary to Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, said in a statement on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, the mayor and city health officials appeared at a senior center in the South Bronx to offer reassurances that the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in the area was tapering off, with no new cases reported since Aug. 3.