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Engel Writes to CDC Requesting Immediate Assistance to Help Fight Legionnaires' Disease in Bronx

Engel Writes to CDC Requesting Immediate Assistance to Help Fight Legionnaires’ Disease in Bronx

Bronx, NY—Congressman Eliot L. Engel has written to CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD requesting immediate assistance to help fight the latest cases of Legionnaires’ Disease that have recently occurred in the Co-op City section of the Bronx.

As of April 25th, the latest cluster of Legionnaires’ has affected one apartment building and sickened three residents, causing one death. While Legionnaires’ is typically treatable with antibiotics, it can be dangerous for the elderly and those with other health complications. A prior outbreak of Legionnaires’ occurred in the Bronx in 2015.

“ I am extremely alarmed by these cases and ask that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) work with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) to investigate the cause of these cases without delay,” Engel wrote.

Full text of the letter can be found below:

 

April 26, 2018

 

Robert R. Redfield, MD

Director

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

1600 Clifton Road

Atlanta, GA 30329

 

Dear Director Redfield:

I write regarding the recent cases of Legionnaires’ disease that have occurred in Co-op City in the Bronx, New York. I am extremely alarmed by these cases and ask that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) work with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) to investigate the cause of these cases without delay.

As of April 25th, this cluster has affected one apartment building and sickened three residents, causing one death. While Legionnaires’ is typically treatable with antibiotics, it can be dangerous for the elderly and those with other health complications. For these New Yorkers especially, it is of the utmost importance that the cause of these cases is identified and addressed as soon as possible. City officials have instructed high-risk residents of the affected building not to shower until the situation is resolved. This is hardly a practical or long-term solution, and underscores the need to remedy this problem as promptly as possible.

I ask that the CDC assist the NYC DOHMH by providing the added resources and expertise necessary to identify the cause of these cases and make recommendations as to how future cases of Legionnaires’ disease can be avoided. These three cases, coupled with the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that occurred in the Bronx in 2015, underscore the need to thoroughly investigate potential triggers of Legionnaires’ – not just in Co-op City, but throughout New York – and eliminate them. The CDC’s assistance will help to both alleviate the situation quickly and afford the people of Co-op City much needed peace of mind.

I thank you for your prompt attention to this matter and look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

 

Eliot L. Engel

Member of Congress