Health Officials: No Cause for Concern that Legionnaires' Will Spread to Central Illinois


CHAMPAIGN--Legionnaires' disease outbreaks are popping up from coast to coast. 

"If people are exposed to it, they can pick it up anywhere," said Julie Pryde, public health administrator at the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.

Legionnaires' killed 12 people in New York City last month. 

"What our data suggests is that the Opera House was releasing contaminated water mist," said Dr. Mary Bassett, NYC health commissioner. 

Just last week, six prisoners in California were diagnosed with the disease.

"Unfortunately today I can't come out and give you a definite answer when this is going to be solved," said Sam Robinson of the San Quentin Prison.

Now in Illinois, an outbreak at a veterans' home in Quincy has claimed the lives of seven people so far, while more than 30 others remain sick.

"Especially a nursing home, or a veterans home, places like that, you're going to see a higher death rate because people there have underlying health conditions already," said Pryde. 

It's a severe form of pneumonia contracted by breathing in contaminated water droplets that can be found in common water fixtures like showers or fountains. 

"Legionnaires' disease is not transmitted from person to person. Outbreaks are usually site specific," said Pryde. 

So there is no cause for concern that the outbreak in Quincy could make its way to Central Illinois.

"In Champaign County, we usually see anywhere from one to four cases a year," said Pryde. "But they are individual cases, they're not clustered. If there's a cluster then you need to do a lot of environmental sampling to find out where it's coming from."

Health officials in Adams County are working to locate the source there and stop the spread.

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