Legionnaires’ case found at Quincy veterans home

The home suffered a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ between 2015 and 2018, killing more than a dozen residents.

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The Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy.

The Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy.

Michael Kipley/Quincy Herald-Whig, distributed by the Associated Press

A single case of Legionnaires’ disease was reported at an Illinois veterans home in downstate Quincy, a few years after an outbreak there killed more than a dozen residents.

The resident tested positive for legionella during a hospital stay for COVID-19 and pneumonia symptoms that started Nov. 30 in Quincy, the Illinois Department of Public Health said in a statement.

Quincy is about 100 miles west of Springfield on the state border with Missouri.

The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs learned about the positive Legionnaires’ test Dec. 22, officials said.

Health officials said the resident lived at Hammond Hall, which is tested quarterly and last tested negative for legionella Oct. 27.

The last case of Legionnaires’ disease at the Quincy home was Dec. 21, 2019 at the Fifer building, health officials said. The facility recently had new piping and a water filter installed.

At least 13 residents at the Quincy home died during a Legionnaires’ outbreak between 2015 and 2018, and dozens more were sickened by it.

Former Gov. Bruce Rauner spent several nights at the home then “to gain a more thorough understanding of the clinical, water-treatment and residential operations of the home,” a spokeswoman said at the time.

Legionella bacteria are transmitted through drops of water and can cause serious lung infections and death. The bacteria mixes with the air in showers or fountains and can cause illness when inhaled.

Incidents of Legionnaires’ disease have risen over 500 percent in the United States since 2001, according to the CDC. The disease was discovered in 1976 during an outbreak at a Philadelphia convention of the American Legion.

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