Seven cases of Legionella reported in Chemung County

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CHEMUNG COUNTY, N.Y. (WETM) – Seven cases of Legionella have been confirmed in Chemung County, according to the Health Department.

On August 23, 2019, medical providers, hospitals and emergency rooms in Chemung County and one at the immediate border, were notified of the increase in cases. The last reported Legionellosis case was received on August 26, 2019.

According to the department, the ill patients are recovering.

Chemung County Director of Information Vincent Azzarelli tells 18 News that “water sampling of several towers (were) completed and we are awaiting results.” Azzarelli adds that results can take around 10 days to come back.

The Health Department has released a list of information regarding Legionellosis for the public:

· Legionellosis is caused by infection with Legionella bacteria. Multiple possible sources are being investigated such as cooling towers, water tanks, large plumbing systems and fountains. Most of the time, results are negative for Legionella bacteria.

· Legionella is typically transmitted by breathing in tiny water droplets present in the air contaminated with the bacteria, not by drinking the water nor by being in contact with someone who is ill with Legionella. Public water systems are not commonly found to be sources of Legionella outbreaks.

· Most healthy individuals do not become infected with Legionella bacteria when exposed. People at higher risk of getting sick are those with a history of chronic disease, smoking, chronic lung disease, cancer or weakened immune systems.

· There is no need for the public to modify their activities in light of this increase in cases. However, persons with respiratory illness should contact their primary care physician or seek health care.

If you have any question regarding Legionella, please call the Health Department at (607) 737-2028.

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