BREAKING: Legionella Found At Three More Melrose Houses Buildings


Last night on a long holiday weekend, the city Health Department revealed that three more public housing buildings at Melrose Houses (NYCHA) were found to have legionella bacteria in their plumbing system. Those buildings that tested positive for legionella are:

  • 304 EAST 156TH STREET
  • 346 EAST 156TH STREET
  • 320 EAST 156TH STREET

The Department said that the plumbing system at 304 East 156th Street initially tested negative. But some additional samples tested positive. Remediation efforts are underway at all of the affected buildings.

Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said in a statement that “out of a total of 56 water samples taken across nine buildings, eight samples across four buildings were preliminary positive.”  The first building, 681 Courtlandt Avenue, that tested positive for legionella has been remediated through the installation of filters in every apartment.

“NYCHA will shut off hot water at the building and install Copper-Silver ionizers that eliminate the bacteria,” said Dr. Bassett. Copper-silver ionization is a disinfection process, primarily used to control legionella, the bacteria responsible for Legionnaires’ disease.

Hot water service will be restored as soon as the ionizers are installed. Ionizers and filters are both methods recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for remediation of legionella contamination.

The appearance of a cluster of four cases of Legionnaires’ prompted the DOH to investigate and take samples of the water distribution system at all nine Melrose Houses buildings. The remediation is underway at the three buildings which tested positive.

Sen Ruben Diaz SrBronx Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz, Sr. released a fevered statement accusing the de Blasio Administration of lying to Bronxites:

I am afraid to think that this Administration could be lying to us. Not too long ago they said that everything is fine, and now they say it’s not and more people are dying. Are they hiding something? If there is something else we need to know, I pray that they will tell us before more lives are lost.”

One of the four cases of Legionnaires’ at the Melrose Houses occurred earlier in the year, two during the recently ended South Bronx outbreak, and one most recent case. Currently, only that patient is hospitalized. Three other previous patients have been treated and released. And Senator Diaz’s statement to the contrary, no one at Melrose houses has died.

Bronx residents should bear in mind that Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious and is easily treatable with antibiotics. Mayor de Blasio has advised that “adults with flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, should seek immediate medical attention.”

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