Immediate Public Notification of Legionella Exposure

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This petition is for immediate notification to the public of potential legionella exposure. This is to include not only notification of the outbreak, but full transparency and disclosure of all building locations and addresses that test positive for legionella bacteria.

Positive testing comes back immediately and the city of New York is not doing enough to notify the public of these locations. New York City is leading the country in cases of Legionnaires with a 67% increase in reported cases in 2017. This does not include unreported cases, as the story listed below.

Those with compromised lung health are at a much greater risk to fall ill and even face death - those with asthma, elderly, young people...anyone with a compromised immune system is at risk.

Please see why this petition is a personal mission.

My husband Kevin was diagnosed w lung cancer at 46. He had two young children and we were a loving family. He didn’t smoke. He had no signs of cancer. We were shell shocked - devastated. But Kevin was ready to fight. And that is what he did.

But Kevin did not even get a year.

Kevin didn’t die from lung cancer - he was being treated for that. We were not naive to think he had twenty years but we certainly did not think he had 10 months...not us, not his doctors or nurses. No one thought it would be less than a year.

Legionnaires pneumonia killed Kevin.

Legionella bacteria is highly preventable. It is spread through contaminated water. Kevin was exposed to it in New York City. In New York, where he was supposed to be safe and getting treatment for lung cancer. Where he was spending hours fighting for his life, for his family.

Kevin was exposed in Lenox Hill where there are hundreds of medical facilities, hospitals and clinics. During the outbreak of 2017 they tested 40 plus buildings - 24 came back positive for legionella - but the Health Department and CDC will not release the addresses of these buildings. They will not tell the public where this occurred. All this as New York continues to lead the country in cases of legionnaires disease.

“NYC is the most aggressive in following up on all legionella cases reported to us and we try to obtain exposure history for all our cases," Christopher R. Miller, the press secretary for the city Department of Health, said in an email.

But this is not the case for my family, DOHMH and CDC have not reported on my husband’s death. They will not release the reporting or testing that was done.

I am left to wonder how many other fatalities are going unreported. How many other cancer patients were exposed to this. Did the health department follow up on the multiple locations Kevin had visited during that time? Did they notify all the other patients seeking chemotherapy, surgery, scans and health care that they were at risk of this? How many other people died from this outbreak?

Those running New York have not advised how they will remedy this for the future. This has been downplayed on numerous occasions - telling the public - this is not an epidemic, only those with compromised immune symptoms are at if that makes it ok.

There have been multiple outbreaks of legionnaires in the past nine months after losing Kevin. More people have died and the next outbreak will kill more people.

In 2015, 12 people were killed in the Bronx with more than 120 sickened...a few weeks ago another death.

As one leading doctor in Washington put it to me - “This is going to become the norm not the exception.”

My family still has no answers.

So today I am advocating to prevent this from happening again. To bring awareness that we as a country, as people living and working in New York, need to do more to protect ourselves.

We must demand full transparency and disclosure in anything that puts us at risk. We must call on our government to be honest and give timely and exact locations of all legionnaires bacteria and outbreaks. 

New York City must focus on clean air, clean water and not take it lightly that we are still being exposed to dirty water and toxins in our environment.

I am here to try my hardest to prevent this from ever happening to another family.
Thank you for hearing Kevin’s story.
#AADCH2018 Allergy & Asthma Network #legionnaires #cleanwater #tonyawinders