Bronx BP says city’s defense vs. Legionnaires’ is flawed

Lincoln Medical Center, one of two spots in the South Bronx said to have bacteria in its rooftop cooling systems that cause Legionnaires' disease.
Lincoln Medical Center, one of two spots in the South Bronx said to have bacteria in its rooftop cooling systems that cause Legionnaires’ disease.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. says that the mayor’s recent public assurances he will protect the public from the latest outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease ring hollow.

Yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city would promptly clean air conditioning towers found to contain the bacteria that causes the potentially fatal airborne disease, to alleviate concerns over spreads of the illness at Lincoln Medical Center and Concourse Village that have killed two and sickened dozens.

But in a statement released today, Diaz said inspections to learn which cooling units are infected fall short.

“During the course of our actions fighting the Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak in The Bronx, it has been revealed that there is no inspection mechanism for coolant systems, rooftop water tanks and other standing water infrastructure that could be a breeding ground for this disease and others,” Diaz stated in the release.

“The city must create a new inspection system for these systems, just as we inspect other critical systems such as elevators,” the statement said, adding the BP will work with City Council members and city agencies to find legislative solutions to help identify and eliminate potentially deadly pathogens.

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