More cases of Legionnaires’ disease at Chicago senior center

State News


CHICAGO, Ill. (AP) – Two new cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been reported at a suburban Chicago senior living center, bringing the outbreak’s total cases to five, including one previous fatal case, health officials said Tuesday.

The Lake County Health Department said it’s working with the Illinois Department of Public Health to investigating the five cases of the disease at Brookdale Senior Living in Vernon Hills.

The health department had said Feb. 5 that one person over the age of 80 had died and that two other residents at the senior living center had been sickened by the disease, which is caused by inhaling water vapor infected with Legionella bacteria.

Brookdale Senior Living has been working to combat the disease by flushing water lines, cleaning shower heads, adding filters and closing a pond, pool and spa, a company spokesperson told the Chicago Sun-Times.

“The health of our residents and associates is our greatest concern and we are taking appropriate steps regarding the Legionella bacteria,” the senior center said in a news release.

Legionella bacteria are transmitted through water droplets from showers or fountains. Most healthy people are not infected after being exposed to the bacteria, but it can be deadly.

Last year, a state audit was critical of the Department of Public Health and Veterans’ Affairs for delays in taking action and notifying nursing staff and the public about a 2015 outbreak at an Illinois veterans’ home in Quincy that left 13 elderly residents dead.


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