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Latest Legionnaires’ outbreak puzzles health experts

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2016

* AP

Gov. Bruce Rauner is scheduled to visit the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy a day after state officials reported two residents have new cases of Legionnaires’ disease.

Last year, Legionnaires’ disease sickened 53 people and led to 12 deaths at the home. The cases the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs disclosed Tuesday come less than a month after a nearly $5 million water treatment plant and delivery system was unveiled at the facility. The bacteria that cause the disease can be inhaled in water vapor.

Rauner’s schedule says the governor was to visit the western Illinois facility Wednesday morning and receive an update on water treatment there.

* But this outbreak is different than last year’s

Less than a month after unveiling a nearly $5 million state-of-the-art water treatment plant and delivery system at the Illinois Veterans Home, the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs on Tuesday announced two Veterans Home residents had been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease.

Dave MacDonna, a spokesman for the Department of Veterans Affairs, said there have been no deaths. He would not disclose the condition of the two residents who had contracted the disease, citing health privacy laws. […]

MacDonna said water at the home will continue to be treated the same it has since the new treatment plant came online. It will continue to test for and flush any harmful bacteria from the system, something that MacDonna said happens twice per day. Hot water temperatures will be at 150 degrees.

From what I was told by the administration last night, national and state experts are dumbfounded about this recurring outbreak. There was clear evidence of the bacteria in last year’s testing. Not so this year.

* From the twitters…

- Posted by Rich Miller        

11 Comments
  1. - DuPage - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:07 am:

    It is not a virus, it is a bacteria. They need to check any nearby cooling towers.


  2. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:10 am:

    Thanks, DuPage. Not enough coffee in my system yet, apparently.


  3. - Handle Bar Mustache - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:14 am:

    Total incompetence!

    Just kidding — this proves the challenge of managing government with a million moving parts.

    Surely some will use this to attack Bruce Rauner.

    Bruce Rauner would have used it to attack Quinn.


  4. - Groundhog Day - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:15 am:

    And it is notoriously difficult to culture. It takes weeks to get results back from testing. If a veteran is sick now, you would not know if the system has recurrent Legionella for a while.


  5. - Trolling Troll - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:26 am:

    Madigan and the bacteria he controls.


  6. - Groundhog Day - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:34 am:

    But clinical diagnosis–in people–can be detected quickly. It takes 2-4 weeks to find out if the water is carrying it. That is why I am a bit suspicious about the statement that ” national and state experts are dumbfounded about this recurring outbreak”.


  7. - Johnnie F. - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:35 am:

    Rauner: We can’t afford to be compassionate unless we’re competitive.


  8. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:59 am:

    It would be nice if our State agencies were fully funded and staffed. Rauner holding everything hostage to the TA leads to slower responses and inability to handle situations like this. Not saying that is the case here. I remember my classes in infection control at Barnes in STL where I did my residency. That stuff is super hard to control. But starving an agency can’t help.


  9. - Mama - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 2:27 pm:

    Why does it take 2-4 weeks to find out if the water is carrying the bacteria for Legionnaires’ disease?


  10. - Groundhog Day - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 4:04 pm:

    Because it is very difficult to grow in the lab, requires special media and complex testing after it grows to verify its identity. It took many months after the first big outbreak to figure out what was responsible.


  11. - seenthebigpicture - Thursday, Jul 28, 16 @ 9:30 am:

    “$5 million dollar state-of -the-art water treatment plant and delivery system ” I wonder if its been paid for? I wonder if the contractor actually finished the job 100% due to lack of payment? Is it functioning 100%? Did they replace 100% of the water system? $5 million sounds pretty cheap for a 100% replacement.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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