Third Legionnaires’ Case Confirmed At Quincy Veterans Home

The entrance to the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy.

The entrance to the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy.

Andrew Gill/WBEZ

State officials say they are implementing new water safety measures at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy, just as a third case of Legionnaires’ Disease has been confirmed there.

State Public Health officials say the third case was confirmed by lab testing late Wednesday and the infected resident is in stable condition. Two earlier Legionnaires’ cases were confirmed on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs says it is boosting water disinfection levels at the Veterans Home and stepping up health monitoring of residents. In addition, Laminar flow devices have been installed on all sinks at the home, to reduce water aeration and bathing has been limited to showers, as shower heads at the facility are equipped with Pall filters that block legionella bacteria.

Meanwhile, state officials say representatives from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention returned to the Illinois Veterans’ home on Tuesday, to review testing protocols for residents with respiratory illness. Illinois’ two US senators, Democrats Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, requested on Thursday that the CDC take a greater leadership role in dealing with the home’s Legionnaires’ outbreak.

Also on Thursday, the Illinois Senate passed a resolution calling on the state auditor general to conduct a performance audit at the Illinois Veterans’ Home, focusing on its management of the Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks at the facility and including details on any building improvements or changes in operational procedures that might be needed to address the problem. The vote on the resolution was 48-0 with nine senators not voting.

The Illinois Veterans Home was the site of earlier outbreaks of Legionnaires’ Disease that killed 13 people — 12 of them in 2015, when more than 50 others were also sickened. The state of Illinois has spent millions of dollars on a new water treatment system at the home to eliminate the disease. But additional cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported at the veterans’ home in 2017. That prompted Governor Bruce Rauner to spend a week at the facility in January, to call attention to his efforts to address the problem.

Story source: WILL