Investigation is being carried out at a police station in East Harlem after traces of the Legionella bacteria, which causes the Legionnaires' disease was found. The incident came to light when an officer contracted Legionnaires' disease, which is a grave case of aggravated pneumonia. Health officials have already started evaluating the police station's water supply and other systems.

The infected officer is currently recovering at a hospital outside New York City. The risk of Legionnaires' disease at the East Harlem police station first came to the fore on June 10.

The New York City health department stated that officials have already collected water samples from the police station’s indoor plumbing system for further evaluation of the situation. Moreover, the health officials are also guiding and assisting the police force stationed at East Harlem to steer clear of possible Legionnaires' disease infection.

What Is Legionnaires' disease?

Legionnaires' disease was first discovered in 1976 during the American Legion Convention. Given that the disease was discovered first found in the convention attendees, it was named after the convention. More than 200 people who attended the American Legion Convention at a Philadelphia hotel contracted the bacteria with some even succumbing to death.

How is the disease contracted?

People contract Legionnaires' disease by breathing small water droplets containing the Legionella bacteria. In the event of an infection, one may feel muscle pain, headache, shortness of breath, cough, nausea, chest pain, diarrhea, and vomiting, as the symptoms of the disease. Individuals who are 50 years and above are highly susceptible to the disease.

Moreover, people suffering from constant lung disease, smokers, and anyone with any type of pre-existing disease is at risk of this infection.

However, Legionnaires' disease is curable and can be treated with the help of antibiotics, but if the patient is not given medical care, it can be disastrous. The disease is caused by the Legionella bacteria or Legionella pneumophila, which grow and reproduce mainly in water systems, indoor plumbing, cooling systems, and other indoor water systems installed in a structure.

Mostly, the bacterium is found in the large and complicated water systems of big buildings where they remain undetected for long and spread more easily.

No water supply at the police station

The East Harlem police station is temporarily devoid of the hot water supply to prevent the bacterium from spreading. Officials have ruled out its ventilation, air conditioning, and heating system as possible places where the bacteria may have originated, as they were not in use since October 2016.