Legionnaires’ Disease Cases in Quincy

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Adams County Health Department (ACHD) are reporting four confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease, including one death in Quincy.  At this time there is no evidence they are connected to the Illinois Veterans’ Home-Quincy.
“As part of our investigation of the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the Illinois Veterans’ Home-Quincy, we asked our local health care providers to help us with surveillance of the disease and test individuals in the community who have symptoms related to Legionnaires’ disease,” said ACHD Administrator Jerrod Welch.  “We have thoroughly investigated each confirmed case for a connection with the outbreak, as well as any possible connection to one another.  At this time, we have found no connections.”
Because of the increase in testing, public health officials expect to find more cases than during a non-outbreak situation.  Legionnaires’ disease is not transmitted from person to person.
Legionella bacteria occurs naturally in the environment.  Approximately 200 cases are reported each year in Illinois. Most are not associated with an outbreak and are considered isolated cases.  Adams County has had cases of Legionnaires’ disease reported in three of the past six years.
“Based on our investigation thus far, we do not believe there is an increased risk of Legionnaires’ disease to the Quincy community,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D.  “We continue to focus on the outbreak at the Illinois Veterans’ Home-Quincy and investigate possible sources of Legionella bacteria and make recommendations on how to eliminate the bacteria.”
Legionella bacteria grow in areas of warm water.  Most cases of Legionnaires’ disease can be traced to plumbing systems where conditions are favorable for Legionella growth, but also to broken air conditioners or small decorative yard fountains.