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Legionnaires' found in inmate on Rikers Island, NYC's main jail

Correction union head Norman Seabrook wants all jails tested for Legionnaires'.

An inmate at Rikers has Legionnaires' Disease.

Reuters

A 63-year-old inmate with underlying health woes has tested positive for Legionnaires' disease, officials said Tuesday night.

The inmate is now at a secure ward at Bellevue Hospital and be treated with antibiotics.

The Correction Officers union is demanding immediate action.

"The presence of Legionnaires’ disease in a correctional facility is a ticking time-bomb,” Norman Seabrook, the union boss, said in a statement.

RELATED:Legionnaires' Disease death toll now at 12 (Video)

“We are calling on the Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett to step up and immediately test every facility under the control of the Department of Correction and to better share information with the DOC. The health and well-being of thousands of correction officers and inmates is at risk.”

A City Hall spokeswoman said the case is not tied to the outbreak in the South Bronx that so far has killed 12 and infected 113 others.

RELATED: What the heck is Legionnaires'?

The ill 63-year-old man has been at Rikers since December and in court in Brooklyn twice, WPIX reported,.

The six cooling towers were disinfected only a month ago, and will be cleaned again "out of an abundance of caution," she said.

There are 15 facilities across the five boroughs that fall under the city Correction Department.

A new case was also diagnosed in Rockland.

Legionnaires' is the third most common cause of pneumonia and thousands die each year. The cluster of infection in the South Bronx is what is unusual, health officials said,

John A. Oswald is editor-at-large at Metro and can be found on Twitter@nyc_oz.
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