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Illinois Veterans’ Home Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreak Under Investigation

September, 2015

The source of the Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak at the Veterans’ Home in Quincy, Illinois remains unknown. The disease has sickened more than 52 residents and employees at the facility. According to the Adams County Health Department the cause of the outbreak has eluded the investigators. According to Jerrod Watch, the Adams County Health Director, 8 deaths are suspected to have been caused by this form of severe pneumonia that is particularly devastating to elderly patients. An epidemiological team from the Centers of Disease Control is conducting the investigation at the 129 year-old facility, according to the Associated Press.

Legionnaires’ Disease is a type of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria. It is typically caused as a result of breathing vapor from an infected water source. It is particularly problematic for persons over 50, that have smoked, have chronic lung disease and/or have a weak immune system. It is often found in hot tubs, showers or air conditioning units of large buildings.

Legionnaires’ Disease was named after the bacterium determined to be the cause of multiple illnesses and deaths that infected American Legion members staying at a Philadelphia hotel during the Bicentennial Celebration in 1976. The air conditioning system was the source in that case. This past summer, more than 125 cases and 12 deaths were reported in the South Bronx. The cause of that outbreak was determined to be the Opera House Hotel Cooling Tower said Dr. Mary Bassett, commissioner of New York City’s Department of Health.

Legionella bacteria may be the result of unsanitary conditions, poor maintenance and/or the lack of preventative care. If you or a family member has been affected by the outbreak of the disease at the Veterans Home, you may wish to discuss any remedies that may be available. The attorneys at Kupets & DeCaro are available for a free consultation.