Rauner vows not to close Quincy veterans home after Legionnaires' outbreak

Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy

Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy

McSweeney questioned the possibility of renovating the 200-acre facility for future safety, asking Jeffries to draw up a proposal on what would be required.

Frese then asked CDC Associate Director for Epidemiological Science Sam Posner about Epi-Aid follow-up that occurred in Quincy after the outbreak.

The battle continues over the care of IL veterans. Five confirmed cases were reported in 2016; there were six previous year. That's up from 5,000 the year before.

In Illinois, there were about 300 cases a year ago, said Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. The first case of the waterborne illness was identified in late July 2015, and a second case was diagnosed a few weeks later.

The governor plan to upgrade the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy, 285 miles southwest of Chicago, come after a WBEZ investigation into his administration's handling of the Legionnaires' disease outbreaks in 2015, 2016 and again a year ago. "I am wondering if we are ever going to be able to stop deaths in this country or state from Legionnaires' disease".

Jefferies said another option is laying new water pipes along the old pipes to replace the aged infrastructure. In 2017, five residents were sickened by the disease and one died.

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Senator Sam McCann, a Republican from Plainview, says the governor's response should have come long ago.

He notified Rauner's senior staff on August 24. "On Aug. 27, we were sure".

Shah says the important thing in such an emergency is to notify the facility. He said Quincy home staff were told within 27 minutes of learning about the outbreak and they were ordered to restrict water usage that "turned the tide on the epidemic".

Legionnaires' is caused by bacteria in water vapor which sickens people when inhaled.

Democratic Rep. Stephanie Kifowit (KIH'-foh-wiht) of Oswego (ahs-WEE'-goh) questioned Dr. Nirav Sha (NEER'-uhv SHA') Tuesday at a legislative hearing about when the department informed the public about the 2015 outbreak of Legionnaires' disease at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy.

Shah added the IDPH website will be corrected because the gestation period is 10 to 12 days.

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Jeffries says the veterans department has considered new pipes, which would cost an estimated $25 million to $30 million, but she says that too comes with risks, given that excavating plumbing can kick up dirt were legionella bacteria also exists.

Jeffries say the number of cases is down dramatically because officials have installed filters on faucets, heated water and chemically treated it to remove the bacteria. Also on Wednesday, ABC7 toured the water treatment facility at the veterans' home with the engineer in charge.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has previously said his team "is taking every possible action to make sure that our veterans are safe and healthy".

Sen. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) had one main concern at Tuesday's joint House-Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing: how to end Legionnaires' disease. Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park.

A variety of agencies will take part in the hearing, including the Department of Veterans' Affairs and members of the CDC.

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