Senators ask for help from CDC, EPA, VA investigating possible l - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Senators ask for help from CDC, EPA, VA investigating possible legionella-linked death

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) wrote to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requesting the agencies deploy a multidisciplinary team of experts to help state officials as they address Legionnaires' disease at the Illinois Veterans Home (IVH) in Manteno, Illinois.

After the tragic death of a Veteran at IVH Manteno in Kankakee County, the Senators are asking VA, CDC and EPA to accept the invitation to participate in the Illinois Legionnaires' Task Force, which was recently established by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker.

The Senators wrote:

The tragic death of a Veteran that may have resulted from Legionnaires' disease acquired while living at IVH Manteno is a sobering reminder of the need to marshal public resources to urgently address the daunting public health challenge posed by Legionella contamination. The dedicated civil servants at VA, EPA and CDC are among the foremost experts in handling this type of public health and environmental challenge. We request that your respective agency's experts assist the Legionnaires' Task Force in safeguarding the health and well-being of Veterans in Illinois.

If medical officials confirm that the death of the IVH Manteno resident resulted from Legionnaires' disease, it will be vital to contain the tragic public health incident. Following the deadly outbreak of Legionnaires' disease at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy that began in 2015 and claimed the lives of more than a dozen Illinoisans, Senators Duckworth and Durbin have worked to address the crisis and secure federal support for permanent solutions.

Last February, Duckworth and Durbin urged the CDC to take a greater leadership role in helping to address the public health crisis at IVH Quincy. In letters to former Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner last January and March, Duckworth and Durbin repeatedly pressed for a detailed plan of action for ensuring the safety of residents, family and staff at IVH Quincy. In addition, they successfully secured additional federal funding through the annual appropriations process for construction projects at state-run Veteran health facilities like IVH Quincy. Duckworth and Durbin also invited the VA to IVH Quincy for a consultative visit on how to better prevent such outbreaks in the future.

You can read the full letter below.


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