Death toll in Legionnaires' outbreak in Illinois rises to 10

Reuters News
|
Posted: Sep 09, 2015 3:41 PM

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The death toll from an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Quincy, Illinois, has risen to 10, all but one of them at a home for military veterans, public health officials said on Wednesday.

An additional 47 people have been sickened, most of them also at the Illinois Veterans' Home-Quincy, about 240 miles southwest of Chicago, according to a statement from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

As of last week, eight deaths had been reported, including one in the town of Quincy but not in the veterans' home. The two newly reported deaths were both at the home and included one that occurred on Sept. 9 and another death that occurred earlier but was confirmed this week as Legionnaires' disease.

The respiratory illness was first reported in August at the home, which houses 400 people and is the largest and oldest such facility in the state.

The Illinois case follows recent outbreaks of Legionnaires' that killed a dozen people in New York City and sickened scores of inmates at a California prison.

Legionnaires' is caused by inhaling mist or water droplets infected with the bacteria Legionella and in extreme cases it can lead to severe pneumonia, respiratory failure, kidney failure and septic shock. It cannot be transmitted person-to-person.

Officials are still testing to find the source of the outbreak, Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs spokesman Ryan Yantis said. Staff and contractors are disinfecting water systems at the home, he said.

(Reporting by Fiona Ortiz in Chicago; Editing by Doina Chiacu)