Seven dead from Legionnaires' disease at Quincy veterans' home | St. Louis Public Radio

Seven dead from Legionnaires' disease at Quincy veterans' home

Illinois has confirmed three more deaths from Legionnaires' disease at a Quincy veterans' home, increasing the number of fatalities from the outbreak to seven. 

Officials have so far diagnosed 39 people with the disease and tests are pending for other residents. The veterans' home is working with the state and county health departments as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to find the source.

Illinois VA spokesman Ryan Yantis said Tuesday that all victims were elderly, an average age of 86, with underlying medical conditions. Residents are staying put during the investigation.

"The challenge is you have 400 residents and … here do they go? Some of them have profound medical or behavioral needs. That's part of why they're in that home to start with," Yantis said.

Legionnaires' disease is a severe form of pneumonia, with lung inflammation usually caused by infection. Most people get it from inhaling a bacteria that can't be transmitted by human contact.

Dr. Nirav Shah, the state's public health director, said he expects the death toll and the number of infected residents to increase since the disease has a two-week incubation period.

The Markwood Infirmary at the Illinois Veterans' Home-Quincy. The outbreak of Legionnaires' disease, a severe form of pneumonia, is not confined to any one part of campus, officials said.
Credit Jason Parrott | Tri State Public Radio