Lawmakers seek answers on vets' home Legionnaires' outbreak

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Lawmakers seek answers on vets' home Legionnaires' outbreak

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

"Not only are they top of their profession in medical care and medical knowledge and expertise as well as maintenance expertise and other types of professional ability, they are a loving, nurturing, extended family for the veterans who live here", said Rauner. "I'm impressed. I might even vote for him", Jardine said.

Legionella is a naturally occurring water-borne bacteria that becomes a health hazard, commonly called Legionnaires' disease, when people breathe in small droplets of contaminated water.

As the hearing was underway, Rauner was in the midst of an extended stay at the Quincy home in what his team has described as an attempt to learn more about the problem.

Since 2015, there have been 13 reported deaths due to the disease that has allegedly been transmitted through the water supply piping.

Rauner and his administration have been under scrutiny since WBEZ published a report last month featuring members of 11 families who are suing the state for negligence in administering care and waiting days to notify kin and the public of the outbreak, which they say caused or contributed to the deaths of their loved ones.

He's also criticized the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health's response to the outbreak - and says Dr. Nirav Shah ought to resign.

According to the CDC expert, the adaptation of strong water management systems is the only way to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.

"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.

With frequent guidance from the CDC, the new water treatment system manager, Phigenics, implemented a new, advanced treatment system and walked us through how the technology removes all contamination and the legionella bacteria.

State Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, said despite being a fiscal hawk, he'd support a capital plan to build a new facility or renovating an aged home. In 2017, five residents were sickened by the disease and one died. He says there were about 300 cases in IL a year ago.

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.

Democratic Sen. Tom Cullerton of Villa Park is chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee.

Jeffries said the state has a plan on standby and will move it forward, but didn't provide any details.

The director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs says one reason Legionnaires' disease continues to appear at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy is because officials are watching for it.

Rauner has defended the state's response.

Back in 2015, I was very impressed and grateful to see the governor's office and the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs take swift action in locating the sites and cause of the legionella, and sign with a leading water treatment manager to complete improvements as quickly as possible so the home may return to normal operations with minimal disruption.

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