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The Alliance to Prevent Legionnaires’ Disease joined forces with public health and environmental advocate Erin Brockovich and the president of Allergy & Asthma Network Tonya Winders to call on New York City and New York state lawmakers and health officials to work towards real, effective solutions to New York’s escalating Legionella and Legionnaires’ disease crisis.
More than 1,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been reported across New York State since the current state regulations took effect. In 2016 alone, 718 residents of the Empire State contracted Legionnaires’ disease – making up 14 percent of the United States’ total number of Legionnaires’ diseases cases.
If current trends continue unabated, medically supported expert data indicates that approximately an additional 700 New Yorkers will become infected with Legionnaires’ disease with 10 percent of them dying from the disease in 2017.
The Alliance to Prevent Legionnaires’ Disease released a comprehensive report on the Legionnaires’ crisis occurring throughout New York State. The report details the series of events that preceded the Bronx outbreak in the summer of 2015 as well as a full docket of Legionnaires’ disease cases that occurred while the regulations were in full effect. In addition to the events pre-and-post regulation implementation, the report outlines a series of effective steps that, if implemented, would result in a decline in the number of Legionnaires’ disease cases.
“There is a real solution to this growing crisis, but it requires New York City and state officials to change the regulations to address waterborne pathogens in the public water supply,” said Daryn Cline, spokesperson for the Alliance to Prevent Legionnaires’ Disease. “The guidelines for mediation are available in the report we released, including information made available by the Centers for Disease Control and similar organizations. We urge our health and elected officials to amend their regulations before more people senselessly contract this preventable disease.”
Governor Cuomo and the New York State Senate recently proposed significant spending plans to invest in various water infrastructure projects around the state. The Alliance applauds these proposals and calls for a portion of this funding to be dedicated to address the variety of waterborne pathogens, like Legionella, to ensure New Yorkers are protected from the serious illnesses they cause.