SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has posted two Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports addressing the Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy (IVHQ). CDC generated the reports after two visits by environmental health and infectious disease specialists to IVHQ. IDPH requested Epidemiologic Assistance (Epi-Aid) from the CDC after confirming an increase in Legionella cases in August 2015, and again in 2016. The CDC also visited IVHQ earlier this month and a summary of that visit is pending. These reports address the complexities of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak and how the State of Illinois has taken appropriate action.
The CDC describes the State’s diligent response and efforts to help protect the health and safety of veterans and IVHQ staff and visitors, noting:
• IVHQ has a well-established clinical infection surveillance and prevention program in place.
• From the identification of the outbreak, IVHQ clinical staff performed checks on all residents in skilled care every four hours, and twice daily for all residents in independent living. Per established IVHQ protocol, any resident developing symptoms consistent with a lower respiratory infection had a chest x-ray performed immediately for pneumonia diagnosis.
• Since the 2015 outbreak, significant remediation efforts undertaken by the Quincy Veteran’s Home have substantially reduced the presence of Legionella in the potable water system.
• Based on observations during the Epi-Aid investigation, the water management program was fully implemented, followed, and continuously reviewed by the water management team to optimize the water systems.
The reports can be found on the IDPH website.