The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) today announced that two residents of the Quincy Veterans’ Home have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease. IDVA is working closely with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the Adams County Health Department, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine where the residents acquired the Legionella bacteria, although a definitive source may never be identified. Senior administration officials with the IDVA, IDPH and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency are en route to Quincy to coordinate closely with veterans’ home, county and city personnel.
“We are very concerned about our residents and staff the Quincy Veterans’ Home and we are continuing to implement every necessary precaution to ensure the health and safety of all. That is our top priority,” IDVA Director Erica Jeffries said. “As an additional precaution, we are halting all new admissions to the home.”
The facility recently completed an extensive renovation of its plumbing systems in response to the 2015 Legionnaires’ disease outbreak. Renovation included construction of a water treatment plant capable of providing higher quality water for the home’s sensitive population. IDVA will continue implementing procedures to test for and flush any harmful bacteria from the plumbing system and is maintaining hot water temperatures at 150? F. Additionally, IDVA is in the process of engaging a consultant who is an expert on infectious diseases, including Legionella, to assist in the analysis.
Legionella bacteria grow in areas of warm water. Common water sources include decorative fountains, hot tubs, shower areas, and cooling towers. In order to be infected with the bacteria, a person must inhale contaminated water vapor. Legionnaires’ disease cannot be transmitted person-to-person.
IDVA will provide updates when additional information is available.