The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced eight confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease in residents at the Illinois Veterans’ Home – Quincy.  There have been no known deaths related to this outbreak. IDVA and IDPH are working closely with the Adams County Health Department to identify and mitigate possible sources of the Legionella bacteria.

“Our Quincy Home staff and the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) leadership are taking this situation seriously, as we do with any other situation facing our fellow veterans and residents,” said Erica L. Jeffries, Director, IDVA.  “The health, safety, and high quality of life for the residents remains our highest priority.  We will work with local, regional, and state partners to find and eliminate any potential source locations causing these illnesses, and work with residents, families, and staff to ensure we meet their needs.”

Legionella bacteria grow in areas of warm water.  In order to be infected with the bacteria, a person must inhale contaminated water vapor.  Legionnaires’ disease cannot be transmitted person-to-person.  Common water sources include decorative fountains, hot tubs, shower areas, and cooling towers.

“Legionnaires’ disease can be a dangerous illness, especially in older adults who have weaker immune systems,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D.  “While there can be numerous causes of respiratory illness, we will continue to work with our public health partners and local healthcare providers to quickly identify residents who may have Legionnaires’ disease and get them treatment as soon as possible.”

Test results are currently pending for other residents.

“We are grateful to all the agencies who are working with us at the Home,” said Cathy Houston, Director of Nursing at IVH-Q.  “Our approach, along with providing residents, families, and the Homes staff with education and better hygienic practices, is helping to reduce the spread of respiratory illness in general. We are employing established infectious disease control protocols, and operating to help safeguard our residents.”

For more information about Legionnaires’ disease, please visit the IDPH resource page: