Troubled Illinois VA facility sees 4 Legionnaires' cases in February: 5 things to know

Illinois health officials on Tuesday confirmed an additional case of Legionnaires' at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy, bringing the total number of cases reported since Feb. 12 to four.

Here are five things to know.

1. The Illinois Department of Public Health said all infected residents were either doing well or in stable condition.

2. Staff members from the CDC, IDPH and the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs are conducting environmental assessments to determine the exact source of exposure, among other infection control efforts.

3. The Illinois VA facility experienced three separate outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease between 2015 and 2017, causing 64 infections and 13 deaths.

4. 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. Last January, the CDC issued a report on the water system at the Quincy VA facility. In the report, researchers said Legionella may never be fully eradicated from the facility's water system and warned additional Legionnaires' cases could be inevitable.

5. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration has come under fire from legislators in recent months for its handling of the Legionnaires' risk at the VA facility. News of the fourth Legionnaires' case came hours after Senate Democrats held a series of hearings about the outbreak. Democrats criticized leaders from the governor's administration for not attending the hearing. Republican lawmakers said these administrators were not given enough time to properly prepare for such a meeting, according to a report from the Chicago Tribune.

More articles on infection control: 
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