State confirms two cases of Legionnaires' disease at Veterans Home

Posted: Oct. 18, 2017 12:15 pm Updated: Oct. 18, 2017 12:17 pm

QUINCY — The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs said Wednesday that two residents at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy contracted Legionnaires’ disease.

Spokesman Dave MacDonna said one resident died last week, although officials believe the death resulted from a “long, complex medical history” and was not the direct result of Legionnaires’ disease. MacDonna said the other resident is recovering.

MacDonna said staff at the home is being proactive with monitoring symptoms and that any resident showing respiratory issues is being watched closely. He said the staff at the Quincy home is working with the Centers for Disease Control, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Adams County Health Department.

“We are testing the water and closely monitoring residents,” MacDonna said. “We don’t know the source (of the Legionnaires’) at this point.”

The IDVH began a nearly $5 million extensive rehabilitation of the Veterans Home in the summer of 2015 after Legionnaires’ disease sickened 53 people and led to 12 deaths at the facility. Another three residents were sickened during another outbreak in 2016 after the new water treatment plant and delivery system was unveiled in June 2016.

Legionella is found in rivers, wells, ponds and other sources. The bacteria grows in warm water and can be inhaled through contaminated water vapor.

A chemical mixing system was installed to treat the water beyond what occurs at the Quincy water treatment plant, and a second level of purification occurs when the treated water is heated to 160 degrees to kill bacteria. Water is then cooled before it comes out the tap. The water is also tested each day.

MacDonna said there is no need for the community to be alarmed if they are visiting the campus, and the department wanted to alert the community because of cases in previous years.

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