Legionnaires’ disease diagnosed at Southern Illinois mental health facility

Mary Cooley | February 15, 2018

One person at the Chester Mental Health Center has been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, according to the Illinois Department of Human Services.

The patient is being treated and is in stable condition, WJBD Radio reported.

The Legionella bacteria is not transmitted from one person to another, but grows in warm water and water systems.

Legionnaires’ disease is similar to pneumonia, with coughing, shortness of breath, fever and aches, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says about one of every 10 will die from complications from the illness; those who get it during a stay in a health care facility die at a rate of about 1 in 4.

IDHS has turned off the water to the patient’s unit and is supplying bottled water for staff and patients, according to a news release by state Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo. IDHS has not found the source of the bacteria, WJBD reported.

The Chester Mental Health Center houses adult men who are required to be in a mental health hospital. It is not a private institution.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has also reported two cases of Legionnaire’s disease at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy.