The Illinois Department of Public Health has announced on Monday, Aug. 31, that the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy has been stricken by four deaths due to Legionnaires' disease. The mortalities were among the 29 individuals who have been ill due to the outbreak.

Although the names of the sickened and the dead were not yet released, the health officials from the Adams County in Illinois has confirmed that more than two dozen individuals diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease were all associated with the outbreak in the Quincy veterans home.

The authorities from the health department are now encouraging older adults and other individuals with illnesses that render their immune systems weak to refrain from visiting the said veterans facility. Although the source of the outbreak is yet to be confirmed, the health officials believe that it is contained inside the veterans home.

The staff of the Quincy veterans homes have minimal exposure and access to water sources that may contain the disease-causing bacteria, says Ryan Yantis, spokesperson from the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. The personnel have been practicing precaution measures such as drinking bottled water and using sanitary wipes, among many others.

Legionnaires' disease has caused 12 deaths and 128 illnesses in New York, which was traced to the Opera House Hotel. The outbreak was declared over in August.

In California, the San Quentin State Prison was also struck by the disease as five prisoners at the very least have been sickened and a few more dozens left under medical observations. The corrections department of the state has been exerting efforts to detect the source of the outbreak.

Legionnaires' disease is a severe infection caused by Legionella, which is a gram-negative bacteria that has many types. The most common form of the bacteria is the Legionella pneumophila; nonetheless, all species of the bacteria may cause diseases.

The bacteria thrive in warm freshwaters and may be contracted through the inhalation of water droplets that contain it. Passing the bacteria via person-to-person contact is not possible, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The clinical manifestation of the Legionnaires' disease is similar to that of pneumonia, as such patients may exhibit fever, cough, colds and headache. The symptoms usually appear two to 14 days from the exposure to the bacteria. Most cases of the disease require patients to be admitted in the hospital and 10-15 percent may be highly severe that it may lead to death.

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