Legionnaires' found in water distribution system of 4 South Bronx apartment buildings

Saturday, September 5, 2015

SOUTH BRONX (WABC) -- The bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease has been found in the water system of four South Bronx apartment buildings.

Four of the buildings of the Melrose Houses has tested positive for Legionella pneumophilia bacteria. Five other buildings have tested negative in the complex.

Residents got flyers Wednesday evening notifying them of a new case of legionella bacteria.

They also had a community meeting Wednesday night and needless to say a lot people are both worried and frustrated they now have to go through this again.

"A lot of people are complaining about it. They need to fix it, it's been going on for some time now," a resident said.

As a result the Health Department is having NYCHA shut off hot water at the building that tested positive and will install water filters in every apartment unit that will eliminate the bacteria.

Hot water service will be restored as soon as the filters are installed.

"It's crazy because it's been going on for a while, we've been taking cold showers like you know off and on they need to do something about this," said Mit Williams, a resident.

There have been four cases of Legionnaires' at the Melrose Houses in the South Bronx over the past six months: one occurring earlier in the year, two during the recently ended South Bronx outbreak, and this most recent case. Only one patient is currently being hospitalized; the other three previous patients have been treated and released. Test results at Melrose House are as follows: 681 Cortlandt Avenue, 304, 346, and 320 E. 156th Street all tested positive, 700 Morris Avenue, 286 E. 156th Street, 281, 305, and 321 E. 153rd Street all tested negative. It had been reported that 304 E. 156th Street's samples were negative, but additional samples for that building tested positive.

"It's very scary and creepy to know that it's getting closer and closer to where I live now," said Michelle Macklin, a resident.

Although the water is safe to shower, bath, and drink, people living there say they're scared and don't understand why this keeps happening.

"City needs to get involved and help this little community out," a resident said.

"It needs to be some more things done and if they don't have the funding they should reach out somewhere and find it," another resident said.

Health officials say they're also working on a long-term disinfection plan for the entire complex.

Adults with flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, should seek immediate medical attention.