The Real Deal New York

Opera House Hotel is source of Legionnaires’ outbreak: city

Epidemic is over after officials "eliminated danger" posed by Bronx cooling tower

August 20, 2015 05:50PM

The Opera House Hotel in the South Bronx

The Opera House Hotel in the South Bronx

The city’s Legionnaires’ disease outbreak is over after health officials identified the Opera House Hotel in the South Bronx as the source of the epidemic.

The deadliest Legionnaires’ outbreak in the city’s history started in the hotel’s cooling tower at 436-442 East 149th Street, city health commissioner Mary Bassett said Thursday. The disease has killed 12 people, with more than 120 infected since the outbreak started July 10.

The city “eliminated the danger posed by the Opera House Hotel’s cooling tower as soon as it tested positive” for the disease, Bassett added, with the Health Department citing inadequate maintenance and levels of biocide in the cooling tower as a potential cause for the outbreak, according to DNAinfo.

The hotel, which was one of five sites the city had identified as infected with the disease-causing legionella, said it now plans to test the cooling tower every 30 days when it is in use. Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation this week requiring city buildings to register cooling towers and clean then quarterly.

The last reported case of someone becoming ill from the disease was on Aug. 3, according to city officials. [DNAinfo]Rey Mashayekhi