Two people in Albany County test positive for Legionella

February 21, 2019 11:15 PM

Two people in Albany County have tested positive for legionella -- and one of them has died.

The exact cause of death has not been confirmed.


The Albany County Department of Health has launched an investigation, linking both cases to the Promenade assisted living facility in Albany. Water samples there have tested positive for the bacteria that causes Legionnaires disease.

Legionnaires' is transmitted by breathing in water containing the bacteria. It is not spread from person to person. It can result in pneumonia, particularly in the elderly.

Albany County says it's working to minimize risk to other residents at Promenade.

The New York State Department of Health released the following statement to NewsChannel 13:

To help prevent future cases of Legionellosis, the State Department of Health has been in contact with the county health department and Promenade at University Assisted Living to provide technical assistance and guidance.  The facility has decided to put in place water restrictions, which the Department supports.  We will continue to closely monitor the situation.

Additional Information:

  • The investigation involves water sampling (final results are still pending) and interviews with staff from the facility to understand how the water system in the facility is currently being operated.
  • No further cases of legionellosis have been reported at this facility.
  • From 2010-2012, legionellosis was seen in 13 NYS residents and six residents from other states with exposure to the Best Western Hotel, [which is what the building used to be.] Some cases were identified as associated with the hotel retrospectively.
  • In New York State, including NYC, between 500 and 1000 cases of legionellosis are diagnosed annually. More legionellosis cases are usually identified in the summer and early fall, but legionellosis can happen any time of year. 
  • Legionella are found naturally in the environment, usually in water. The bacteria grow best in warm water, like the kind found in hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems, and decorative fountains that are not properly maintained.
  • Most cases of legionellosis are sporadic and not part of an outbreak.  We are often not able to definitively determine the source of the Legionella.
  • Please contact the facility directly for more information.


WNYT Staff

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