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NYPD Investigating Possible Legionnaire's Scare At Precinct In East Harlem

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- An NYPD police officer has been hospitalized after a possible legionnaire's disease scare in East Harlem.

The NYPD and Department of Health are launching their own investigations after receiving a report from the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association that found traces of the legionella bacteria at the 23 Precinct.

It's unclear if the officer has been officially diagnosed with legionnaire's disease.

One officer told CBS2's Reena Roy he and his colleagues are on edge, wondering how long the bacteria has possibly been in their workplace.

Legionella was discovered at various cooling towers across the Bronx two years ago when more than a dozen people died from an outbreak and more than 100 got sick.

A patient at Mount Sinai Hospital was also infected last year. The water systems there tested positive for the bacteria.

Legionnaires disease is a form of pneumonia typically found in water tanks, cooling towers, hot tubs and whirlpool spas. It can be especially dangerous for the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

While it can only be spread through mist, not person-to-person, people who live near the precinct are concerned.

"It's not that it can happen at a place that's poorly maintained. It can happen anywhere, even to the people that protect our city," resident Alexis Connolly said.

Police said the precinct's cooling tower is new and has not yet been turned on. As testing continues, the hot water supply at the building has been shut down.

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