4 die of Legionnaires’ disease in Illinois; 6 ill at San Quentin Prison in California

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Seventy-one cases of the flu-like disease have been reported since mid-July in the South Bronx, up from 31 on Thursday, the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said Sunday, August 2, 2015.

Four patients at a veterans home in Illinois have died of Legionnaires’ disease, and six inmates at San Quentin State Prison in Northern California have become ill with the respiratory condition, authorities said Monday.

The deaths occurred at the Quincy Veterans Home in Quincy, Illinois, Adams County Health Department spokesperson Shay Drummond said. Twenty-five others at the home have tested positive for Legionellosis, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ Disease.

Drummond said results are still pending for other suspected cases.

“Because the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions are at greater risk of serious illness, we are working diligently to identify residents or staff who have respiratory illness and provide medical treatment to them as quickly as possible,” Drummond said.

Besides the confirmed Legionnaires’ cases at San Quentin, 73 inmates are being treated for respiratory illness at the prison’s medical unit but haven’t been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, the prison spokeswoman, Dana Simas, said in a news release.

Five inmates with pneumonia-like symptoms have been sent to outside hospitals but haven’t been diagnosed either.

The first case was diagnosed last week in the prison holding 3,700 inmates, including 700 on death row.

The inmates are being served boxed meals, using portable shower units and drinking water from bottles and water tanks to avoid exposure to bacteria, Simas said. The prison turned off running water last week after the first case surfaced.

Simas said other prison services, such as the library and dental appointments, have been resumed.

This summer, 12 people in the South Bronx died and more than 115 people were hospitalized after contracting Legionnaires’ disease, according to the New York City heath department. All the dead were adults with underlying medical conditions.

CNN’s Dave Stewart and Artemis Moshtaghian contributed to this article.

By Ralph Ellis