Legionnaires' disease death toll rises to seven at Illinois Vete - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Legionnaires' disease death toll rises to seven at Illinois Veterans Home


The Legionnaires' outbreak at the Illinois Veterans Home, in Quincy, has claimed the lives of seven people, according to the Adams County Health Department. 

Health officials say 32 others, including employees and residents, have also tested positive.

The seven residents who've died from the outbreak had underlying health conditions and an average age of 86, health officials said,

Older adults with weaker immune systems are especially vulnerable to Legionnaires' disease but there was some good news Tuesday.

Shay Drummond with the Adams County Health Department said roughly half of the now 32 infected patients are showing signs of improvement.
"Many of the residents who have gone to the hospital have returned back to our homes. they are still being monitored.and still be given treatment for the legionella. however, they're being stabilized at this time. but we're still not answering them all of very closely," added Erica Jeffries, director with the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.
If a resident has symptoms, they're first tested for the legionella bacteria, then given antibiotics.
"It's a very effective treatment," Drummond said. "It takes about two to three days to get the lab testing done, to determine if somebody is indeed positive for legionella." 
Health officials waited on results from 50 additional tests Tuesday. Meanwhile, the water supply at the vets' home remains shut off until experts can pinpoint the source of the bacteria ... 
"We're looking at where people reside within the facility and what their exposure was outside the facility," said Matthew Westercamp, Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, with the Centers for Disease Control. 
The C-D-C arrived Monday and is now working with county and state health officials, analyzing data from recent test samples.
"(such as) Other sources of exposure to water, Did they take a shower? Were they in a whirlpool?" questioned Westercamp.
Legionnaires disease spreads through bacteria in water and attacks the respiratory system. Health officials say residents do not need to move out of the home, but visitors over 50 with respiratory issues should postpone their visit. 

Residents are drinking bottled water and taking sponge baths to avoid using the tap water. 

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