Illinois bill would require VA to notify families of Legionnaires' outbreaks at facilities within 24 hours

Lawmakers in the Illinois House are considering legislation to require the state Department of Veterans Affairs to give families quicker notice of Legionnaire's outbreaks at its veterans' homes, according to a March 8 report from .

State Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, drafted the bill, which would require VA officials to alert veterans' home residents, their family members and VA employees of a Legionnaire's outbreak within 24 hours, according to the

The Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy experienced three separate outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease between 2015 and 2017, causing 64 infections and 13 deaths. Last month, state health officials confirmed four cases of Legionnaires' in the facility.

Internal state health official emails obtained by WBEZ and released in February suggest state officials waited nearly a week to inform the public about the 2015 outbreak.

Legionnaires' is a virulent form of pneumonia contracted through the inhalation of water carrying Legionella. Those with weakened immune systems like the elderly are at greater risk of infection.

To learn more about Legionnaires' disease, click here.

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