Survivors, families speak out following Legionnaires' outbreak on Long Island

Stacey Sager Image
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Survivors, families speak out following Legionnaires' outbreak
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There are 10 reported cases of Legionnaires' disease in a one-mile radius of Wantagh Avenue and Old Jerusalem Road on Long Island.

WANTAGH, Long Island (WABC) -- Families and survivors are now speaking out following a Legionnaires' outbreak on Long Island earlier this month.

There were 10 reported cases in a one-mile radius on the Levittown-Wantagh border.

"How on earth did that come into his world, when his world was so small?" Krista Crockford asked.

It's the question that haunts Crockford, who lived with her 96-year-old father, Jack Liljehult, on Haven Lane in Levittown.

Liljehult died on October 14.

"Oh, man, I was scared. Scared for my life actually. I didn't wanna go nowhere," survivor Dominic Micheletti said.

"Terribly weak. I never saw him like that. It was very frightening," Micheletti's wife, Jean, described her 83-year-old husband.

Legionella bacteria, which is found in the environment, is spread not through drinking water, but by breathing in a mist that contains it.

Both county and state health investigators have been testing water samples from the community, but those samples have yet to be completed.

Health officials say it's highly likely the problem has now resolved itself, due to cooler temperatures.

While that's a relief in terms of public health, it's still very frustrating to residents.

"We have no clue. Nobody's telling us anything," Haven Lane resident Wayne Wichern said.

"Through my faith, through my wife, through the medication, I'm talking to you,"Micheletti told Eyewitness News Reporter Stacey Sager.

"I just don't want my father to have suffered and died in vain,"Crockford said.

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