New York City health officials have confirmed more than a dozen cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Flushing in the past few weeks. Each patient had a serious pre-existing health condition, but no cases have proved fatal yet.
All 52 cooling towers in the area were immediately tested for the presence of legionella bacteria. Preliminary results showed that 10 cooling towers tested positive and were likely the source of the outbreak.
In a city with the strictest cooling tower regulations in the nation, Legionnaires’ outbreaks from contaminated cooling towers are still all too common. In fact, NYC reports between 200 and 400 cases every year, even after regulations were put into place, revealing how even fully compliant cooling towers can become contaminated with legionella bacteria.
Any building owner implicated in the current Flushing outbreak will face fines as high as $25,000. But cooling tower compliance is about more than fines – it’s about lives. Around 1 in 10 people who contract Legionnaires’ die from complications related to the disease, according to the CDC.
If you’re a building owner, you’ll want to get your cooling towers tested for legionella immediately. You can be sure that after this outbreak – one of the worst in some time – the frequency of inspections will spike.
While legionella testing for cooling towers protects your business, it’s more important to protect your people and your community. Building owners have a serious responsibility, particularly to the elderly and the sickly who are most vulnerable to Legionnaires’ disease, to keep their community safe and free from legionella.
All building owners should be concerned about the state of their cooling towers right now. After the latest outbreak, penalties will be given out more freely, and the sheer number of cooling towers with legionella growth goes to show how any cooling tower can become contaminated.
If you’re cooling towers need testing for legionella, you can trust the qualified experts at NYC Cooling Tower Inspections & Services to help you reach compliance and protect the people around you.