Long Island Legionnaires’ disease outbreak, casualty reported


Recently, 10 people in one Long Island neighborhood are reported to have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease.

Medical teams are still searching for the source of the mist or vapor containing the bacteria.“I’ve had it with bad news,” said Joe Holden.

All of the victims lived within a half-mile of Wantagh Avenue and Old Jerusalem Road on the Levittown–Wantagh border of Nassau County.

“Worried, scared, and it’s really close. I live right here in Wantagh, so it’s right around the block from me,” said homeowner Lauri Oppenheim.

10 cluster cases have been reported. The cases are between 35 and 96 years old. 

“Legionnaires… I’m thinking where is a water tower around here?” said homeowner Ronald Roaldsen.

“You don’t get legionella from drinking water. You have to breathe it in form of vapor or mist,” said Nassau County Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein.

It is a relief that it does not spread from person to person.

“I’m very health conscious. I have three children. We want to make sure where the source of it is,” said homeowner Janice Imbrogno.

The Health Department is still investigating the source of the vapor. 

“We have a whole team of inspectors now walking the neighborhood immediately around the houses. They are very close together,” Eisenstein said.

One needs to check for the symptoms if one is exposed to this vapor for two to 10 days, one must look for cough, shortness of breath, high fever, muscle aches, headaches.

Legionnaires responds well to antibiotics.

“Knowledge is power. We all need to take care of these houses we are all living in,” said homeowner Connie Scalamandre.

Legionella disease was discovered and named after an outbreak in 1976. It was spread was among people who went to a Philadelphia convention of the American Legion. This pneumonia-type disease has become the reason for hundreds of casualties. 
“Contact tracing they are already doing is really going to go a long way in identifying the source,” said Nassau County legislator Steven Rhoads.

The health commissioner reiterates the drinking water supply is safe.


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