Manteno veterans home resident diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease

MANTENO, Ill. (WLS) -- The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs said a resident of the Manteno Veterans Home was diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease Tuesday morning.

The IDVA activated contingency plans developed after the 2015 legionnaires outbreak at the Quincy Veterans Home that killed several veterans.

There are 294 skilled care and special needs veterans across the 122-acre campus in Manteno, many of whom are especially old with fragile immune systems.

Key to the the official response is swift notification of the diagnosis. happening now, to all residents, families and attorneys.

Legionnaires is an often deadly water-borne bacterial disease that's transmitted through plumbing systems. A spokesman told ABC7 Eyewitness News by phone that an "active water management program" has been started at the 33-year-old veterans home to address the issue, and medical checks of residents will be increased to every four hours.

The state faces multiple lawsuits over what happened in Quincy. Governor Bruce Rauner's response was criticized as slow. The head of the state VA department resigned.

The IDVA spokesperson said the department was activating their emergency plan out of an abundance of caution, as the law only requires that when at least two cases of Legionnaires' are suspected.

The key now is to find the source of the bacteria and protect the men and women who live and work at a place designed to honor those who have served.
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