The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting a fourth death from Legionnaires' disease after an outbreak at a western Illinois veterans' home.
The new case increases the number of residents contaminated at the Quincy veterans' home. An agency spokeswoman confirmed the recent fatality to The Associated Press on Monday.
The outbreak was first reported last week. Tests to determine the source of the outbreak continue.
Officials say the number of residents with Legionnaires' disease at a western Illinois veterans' home climbed five more to 28, including two people who died last week.
The Quincy Herald-Whig reported Saturday the number jumped from the 23 cases made public Friday when the deaths were reported. Illinois Department of Public Health officials say the deceased residents had underlying medical conditions.
IDPH Director Dr. Nirav Shah says checking water systems is the best prevention method.
“We’ve advised the facility to remove all the showerheads and make sure they can be tested to see if they have any evidence of the bacteria in it,” Shah said. “We have advised the facility to bring in, for example, temporary chillers, so the facility’s own refrigerators can be inspected and certified by outside experts.”
Legionnaires' disease is a severe form of pneumonia, with lung inflammation usually caused by infection. It's not transmitted from person to person, with most people getting it from inhaling the Legionella bacteria.
Illinois Veterans Home spokesman Ryan Yantis says residents are being monitored and anyone with symptoms will be treated as if they have it until lab results show otherwise.
Quincy is about 300 miles southwest of Chicago.