Durbin Speaks With CDC Director About Deadly Situation At Quincy Veterans' Home

CDC Commits to Release Latest Sample Results and Recommendations in Early January 2018

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today spoke with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald about the Illinois Veterans’ Home (IVH) Quincy and the continued outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease, which have taken the lives of 13 veterans and residents over the past three years.  During today’s call, Dr. Fitzgerald noted that CDC staff visited IVH Quincy in early December and took samples. The laboratory results from those tests will be completed in “early January” and, at that time, CDC assured Durbin they will make recommendations on what next steps are appropriate for the veterans, residents, and infrastructure at IVH Quincy.

“What has taken place at the veterans’ home in Quincy over the past three years is nothing short of a scandal and an insult to the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to fight for our freedoms. There have been a series of unacceptable errors by Governor Rauner and his Administration—including a refusal to publicly disclose, in a timely manner, confirmed cases of Legionnaire’s at IVH Quincy and a refusal to engage with national public health agencies and experts sooner—and it is time for them to stop.  We need solutions, not cover-ups.  Our veterans and their families deserve better,” said Durbin. 

In early December, Durbin and Duckworth requested the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a review of Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) oversight of nursing home care across the country, including in state veterans’ homes such as Quincy.  Today, that request was approved.

Legionnaires' disease is a severe, often lethal, form of pneumonia. It's caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila found in both potable and non-potable water systems.  Each year, an estimated 10,000 to 18,000 people are infected with the Legionella bacteria in the United States.

Recent reporting by WBEZ revealed that Illinois public health officials delayed informing the public for nearly a week about a deadly 2015 Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at a state veterans’ home in Quincy despite knowing the facility was facing “the beginning of an epidemic,” according to internal emails from Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office.  Further, WBEZ reports that the state has repeatedly provided misinformation regarding the timeline and number of confirmed cases of Legionnaire’s Disease.  Eleven families are now suing the state for negligence.