There are eight confirmed cases of Legionnaires' disease in the Illinois Veterans Home, in Quincy, according to the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs and the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Tests are pending for other residents.
The departments issued a statement Thursday. They say no one has died because of the outbreak, and they are working with the Adams County Health Department to find the source of the Legionella bacteria.
The bacteria grows in warm water. The departments say to be infected, a person must inhale water vapor contaminated with the bacteria.This can include fountains, hot tubs, shower areas and cooling towers. It can't be transmitted from one person to another.
Cathy Houston, Director of Nursing at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy says the first case was reported in July.
"We are working very closely with the Adams County Health Department and the IDPH, Illinois Department of Public Health, and even the CDC and Blessing Hospital looking at what could be a possible source of the Legionella," Houston said.
Houston says some of the environmental tests could take weeks for results, and the best thing they can do right now is treat and monitor current residents.
"You know it's depending on if they can even find the source," Houston said. "Again, hopefully once the residents have been treated that have had it, we can take care of those residents and all we can do is monitor and treat them appropriately."
City Engineer Jeffrey Conte says there's no need to worry about the city water system.
"City water is absolutely safe," Conte said. "I am a consumer of the water just like the people watching this. I have no concerns about them drinking the water, showering in the water or bathing int he water."
Conte says the water system is tested at least once a day for an indicator bacteria, which alerts engineers if there are other dangerous toxins in the water supply.
IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. says the disease can be dangerous for older adults who have weaker immune systems.
"Our Quincy Home staff and the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs leadership are taking this situation seriously, as we do with any other situation facing our fellow veterans and residents," IDVA Director Erica L. Jeffries said.