Two cases of Legionnaires’ disease reported at Pontiac Correctional Center

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PONTIAC, Ill. (WMBD) — Two offenders at the Pontiac Correctional Center are said to be infected with Legionnaires’ disease.

Officials with the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) are investigating two cases of Legionnaires’ disease at the correctional facility. On Thursday, the departments confirmed two prisoners were in the hospital in stable condition with the disease. A spokesperson with IDOC said one of those inmates has been released back to the correctional center.

In a joint statement. IDOC and IDPH officials said:

“IDPH infectious disease staff are working with the facility to collect information and further investigate the illnesses while environmental health staff are conducting a water quality assessment. IDOC will continue to conduct active surveillance for Legionella bacteria by monitoring those incarcerated in the facility. The facility receives its water from the City of Pontiac and will begin a water quality testing program through an outside laboratory to monitor water quality data on an ongoing basis.”

Legionnaires’ disease is not spread person-to-person and is most commonly associated with larger buildings such as hospitals or long-term care facilities. Legionella bacteria are naturally occurring and can be aerosolized through cooling towers and showers. The bacteria can cause pneumonia when inhaled.

The bacteria usually becomes a concern when they grow and spread in human-made water systems.

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