The outbreak of the respiratory, bacterial infection, Legionnaires’ disease, among residents at the Illinois Veteran’s Home – Quincy continues to grow, according to Illinois health officials today.
As of Aug. 31, health officials are reporting 29 Legionnaires’ cases at the home, including four fatalities.
Legionnaires’ disease is caused by the bacteria Legionella. Additional symptoms include: headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, confusion and diarrhea. Symptoms usually appear two to 10 days after significant exposure to Legionella bacteria.
Most cases of Legionnaires’ disease can be traced to plumbing systems where conditions are favorable for Legionella growth, such as whirlpool spas, hot tubs, humidifiers, hot water tanks, cooling towers, and evaporative condensers of large air-conditioning systems.
Legionnaires’ disease cannot be spread from person to person. Groups at high risk for Legionnaire’s disease include people who are middle-aged or older – especially cigarette smokers – people with chronic lung disease or weakened immune systems and people who take medicines that weaken their immune systems (immunosuppressive drugs).
Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today