McCann Calls On Rauner, Shah To Own Up To Legionnaires' Crisis

Sergio Conner
January 13, 2018

Nirav Shah appears on "Chicago Tonight" on January 4, 2018 to discuss the state's opioid epidemic.

But the sad news, the senator was told by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Associate Director for Epidemiological Science Sam Posner at the hearing on the 13 deaths since 2015 at the the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy, is that the disease can not be stopped.

The battle continues over the care of IL veterans.

According to the CDC, people can contract Legionnaire's disease if they breathe in small droplets of water containing the bacteria legionella, which is found naturally in freshwater lakes, rivers, and streams.

"Dr. Shah, you mentioned we recently had an outbreak of two cases of Legionnaires' disease in one of Chicago's hospitals, does the Illinois Department of Public Health require them to test everyday for Legionella?"

The governor on Wednesday announced a plan to build new facilities in order to stop Legionnaires' disease outbreaks that have killed 13 people since 2015.

"This is an issue especially with Legionella, because of the persistence of Legionella that we have worked with at a number of sites over multiple years investigating cases", Posner said.

A report of a lawsuit by 11 families against the state last month increased pressure on Rauner for a response.

Finally, Rauner said the Quincy hospital has agreed to return results on Legionnaires' tests within hours, instead of the days the Illinois Department of Public Health has had to wait previously.

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"All of that time spent in that six days was to ensure that before information was released that we knew what we were talking about", Jeffries said.

"I think that what we need to do from my preliminary assessment is build a new facility", McSweeney said, adding even though he is one of the most fiscally conservative representatives, he would support the funding needed.

The Quincy Veterans' Home has brought families together for more than a century, and with our help and support, it can remain the cornerstone of our region for many more years to come. Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park.

At Tuesday's hearing, Frese had a few questions for panel witnesses, beginning with what in fact constitutes an outbreak and when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) informed and requested to provide Epi-Aid, the process of public health administrators seeking short-term epidemiologic aid for an vital public health issue.

"We're taking no option off the table", Jeffries said.

Officials say it would cost $25 million to replace plumbing to mitigate the disease at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy.

Rauner, who is running for re-election, has called the situation a "tragedy" but in December refused to say whether he bears moral responsibility for it. The project also would likely need a buy-in by the federal government.

Lawmakers are scheduled to question members of Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration about the deadly outbreak of Legionnaires' disease at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy.

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