GUILDERLAND - State health officials confirmed Wednesday that an investigation is underway into a Legionnaires' disease case concerning a resident of a Guilderland assisted living site that was the site of an outbreak earlier this year.One resident at the Promenade at University Place on Western Avenue recently took ill, and as a result, clinical and environmental testing is being conducted, said health department spokesman Gary Holmes.Officials said the tests will help determine if the legionella bacteria is active and confirm whether the one resident contracted Legionnaires' at the assisted living facility at 1228 Western Avenue.

Two residents contracted Legionnaires' disease in February at the facility, which used to be a Best Western Sovereign Hotel and which also had an outbreak in 2012. State testing in March determined the strain at the Promenade was the same as the one that caused the outbreak seven years ago.



During the February outbreak, one of the residents died after falling ill, but the cause of death was never released.

Paul Fahey, who served as a spokesman for Promenade during the earlier outbreak, said Wednesday afternoon he would reach out to officials to see if he could comment.

Legionnaires' disease is a type of pneumonia caused by bacteria. People are typically exposed to it by breathing in the mist from a shower, hot tub or air conditioning system that is contaminated with the legionella bacteria. Those who have cancer or compromised immune systems; smoke or have smoked; or are over 50 years old are at greater risk. It is not spread person to person.

Officials are waiting on the latest test results of the bacteria found this time around to determine whether it’s a “live strain.” If results show it is still active, sources said more drastic steps may be taken, including the possibility of closing the facility.

The Promenade opened in December after owners did an overhaul of the existing plumbing and fixtures aiming to address potential issues of legionella bacteria. State officials have said tests done in October were negative for the bacteria, yet six months later, it struck again.

Remnants of the old plumbing system were found during further investigation in March, state officials have said.

In response to the initial incident this year, the assisted living facility owners put water restrictions in place, provided bottled water, and installed shower filters and a new treatment system to specifically address legionella bacteria. The new system injects copper and silver ions, which inhibits bacteria growth.

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Amanda Fries covers the county and city of Albany for the Times Union, where she has worked since June 2016.

She previously worked at the Poughkeepsie Journal as an investigative reporter and the Observer-Dispatch in Utica covering city hall, among other beats.

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