ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) – The Chemung County Department of Health has provided an update as they continue to investigate an “increased number” of Legionnaires' Disease in the county.

While Legionella cases are reported sporadically throughout the year, the County Health Department and the New York State Department of Health are investigating a “cluster” of cases in the county.

As WENY News reported, so far, seven cases have been confirmed. Officials say all the patients are recovering.

The NYSDOH has completed environmental sampling of several sites and officials say the test results are pending. Legionella grows slowly; therefore, the results will take several weeks to obtain. Additionally, officials say environmental sampling of several homes is scheduled to be completed next week.

Officials say it is important to know the following about Legionellosis, or Legionnaires' Disease:

  • Legionellosis is caused by infection with Legionella bacteria. Multiple possible sources are being investigated such as cooling towers, water tanks, large plumbing systems and fountains. Most of the time, results are negative for Legionella bacteria.
  • Legionella is typically transmitted by breathing in tiny water droplets present in the air contaminated with the bacteria, not by drinking the water nor by being in contact with someone who is ill with Legionella. Public water systems are not commonly found to be sources of Legionella outbreaks.
  • Most healthy individuals do not become infected with Legionella bacteria when exposed. People at higher risk of getting sick are those with a history of chronic disease, smoking, chronic lung disease, cancer or weakened immune systems.
  • There is no need for the public to modify their activities in light of this increase in cases. However, persons with respiratory illness should contact their primary care physician or seek health care.

If you have any question regarding Legionella, please call the Health Department at (607) 737-2028.