Two more dead in Legionnaires' disease outbreak at veterans' hom - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Two more dead in Legionnaires' disease outbreak at veterans' home


Two more residents at the Illinois Veterans' Home have died as a result of Legionnaires' disease, according to the Adams County Health Department.

Shay Drummond said one resident died Wednesday morning. She said that resident did have underlying medical conditions that contributed to the passing.

Drummond said the other person died previously, but the test results were pending until Tuesday.

The death toll is now up to nine at the veterans' home.

Officials still haven't figured out the source of the Legionella bacteria at the vets' home, which now has 53 confirmed cases.
With the count rising, infectious disease expert Keith Griffeth, from Hannibal Regional Hospital, says the high number of deaths and cases is unusual.

"The majority of people with Legionnaires' disease do not die," Griffeth said.

Griffeth says a combination of underlying conditions, and the fact that it takes several days for symptoms to appear, make it harder to treat and reverse the disease after it progresses in older patients. SInce the outbreak has been isolated to the vets home, where the average patient age is 88, the illness spreads more rapidly, but for the disease, death is still rare.

"Of the 30,000 to 40,000 people a year would have Legionnaires' disease, the death rate is very low," Griffeth said. "That number of people across the country is very low."

Meanwhile, crews worked through campus buildings Wednesday, testing water samples and flushing the entire water system. Crews are using chlorine because the Legionella bacteria spreads through water vapor, and can usually be traced back to plumbing systems.

Results for the tests are still pending. After the flush, officials say they hope to have water restored this week.

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