Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Legionnaire Disease Town Hall Meeting

   Monday night there was a Town Hall meeting on the recent outbreak of Legionnaire Disease in the Bronx. In the above photo are NYC Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett i\was joined by Dr. Jay Varma Deputy Commissioner for Disease Control, Milton Nunez Executive Director of Lincoln Hospital, Andrew D'Amora Chief of Staff of the NYC Office of Emergency Management, and Anne Bone of the New York State Nurses Association.   
  Each gave a brief speech about Legionnaire Disease trying to calm the packed room at the Bronx Museum which included Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr,. Public Advocate Letitia James, Congressman Jose Serrano, State Senators Jose M. Serrano and Gustavo Rivera, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson who coordinated the Town Hall meeting. 
  De. Bassett explained that Legionnaire Disease can only be gotten by inhaling contaminated water vapor from cooling towers, and can not be transmitted from person to person. It was explained that in the very hot weather if not properly cleaned and maintained the cooling towers on top of buildings can become breeding grounds for the Legionnaire Disease bacteria. It was stressed that there the NYC water supply was in no danger from the bacteria, because it is only found in the cooling towers that evaporate the heat in buildings to water vapor. 
  Dr. Bassett stressed that there was an incubation period of 2 - 10 days for Legionnaire Disease, and that is why we still see new cases. as of Tuesday morning there were seven deaths, and 81 cases of Legionnaire Disease recorded. She stressed that if you think you may have Legionnaire Disease to seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms are fever, cough, chills, and muscle aches. People who smoke or have lung disease, the elderly, and people with diabetes are of the highest risk of catching Legionnaire Disease. 5 percent of all cases of Legionnaire Disease result in death, and that there are 250 - 300 reported cases of Legionnaire Disease each year. This year there have been 256 cases of Legionnaire Disease reported so far. 
  This recent outbreak of Legionnaire Disease in the bronx started on July 12th, Since then 22 buildings were visited, 17 cooling towers in all were inspected, and 5 cooling towers were found to be contaminated and have been disinfected already by the city. The health commissioner said that there could be any one of many reasons for Legionnaire Disease bacteria to grow, and that the city council would be looking into legislation to address the matter. 
  There were many people who lined up to ask questions, and got little if any other information that was already said. People wanted to know why this happens over and over, and why do people have to die from it. I was able to question City Council Speaker Melissa Mark=Viverito on her way out and ask her what the city council plans to do as per what the city health commissioner had said.. Speaker Mark-Viverito said that the council will work with the Mayor and Health Department to come up with legislation that will address the problem of Legionnaire Disease. Exactly what she could not say, but she did say that the matter will be investigated, and whatever legislation that is needed will be put into place.   

Above - You can see on the wall that 22 buildings were visited, 17 cooling towers inspected, and 5 cooling towers tested positive for Legionnaire Disease.
Below - You can see the packed room, and long line of people with questions.

Above - Bronx BP Diaz had afew questions of his own after he tried to calm the audience.
Below - BP Diaz is joined by Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, Deputy BP Greene, Public Advocate James, and out of the photo are Congressman Serrano and State Senator Jose M. Serrano along with City Council Speaker Melissa Mark- Viverito. 


Before the Town Hall meeting BP Diaz greeting and thanked many of the people on the long line for coming to the Town Hall meeting ad you see here. 

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