Nursing Home Cited Seven Times by Inspectors Before Legionnaires' Outbreak
Amsterdam Nursing Home in Upper Manhattan experienced an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease, the worst in New York City in seven years, with nine people contracting the disease from June to early September and five deaths reported. Records show that city inspectors cited the operators of Amsterdam Nursing Home seven times in the past six years for violations including failing to conduct routine maintenance and the use of inadequate startup procedures for the building's cooling towers. The facility was fined once in March 2021, $500, for failing to maintain required records of water sample analysis or not recording the analysis; the other six infractions were dismissed following hearings. A New York Times analysis of more than 50,000 cooling tower violations from 2015 to 2022 revealed that around 25% of the city's nursing homes had received at least one citation, and 13 nursing homes had received a dozen or more citations. Since 2015, 43 nursing homes have been fined a total of $164,000, paying around $120,000 of that amount. According to Sean X. Leng, a geriatrician and immunobiologist at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health, most cases of Legionnaires' disease have been reported in people over age 50. "The prevention is much better than the treatment. That's why we want to emphasize cleaning those water towers regularly," said Dr. Leng. "We don't have a vaccine for this bacterium."
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