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Fourth case of Legionnaires’ disease confrimed at Quincy veterans home in one week

QUINCY, Illinois – Illinois officials have confirmed a fourth case of Legionnaires’ disease at the Quincy veterans home in a week.

The Departments of Public Health and Veterans’ Affairs announced late Tuesday that a resident has been diagnosed with the pneumonia-like malady.

It’s the fourth case announced by state officials since Feb. 13. The illness caused by Legionella bacteria inhaled from water vapor first appeared in 2015 and has returned each year since.

It has led to the deaths of 13 residents at the 130-year-old home and had put Gov. Bruce Rauner under intense scrutiny about his response to the problem.

Officials with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s cabinet agencies invited to a hearing on the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the Quincy veterans’ home say they couldn’t attend because of the short notice.

Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Cullerton called the hearing Tuesday in response to an Associated Press report last week about replacing potentially problematic plumbing at the home where 13 have died from the pneumonia-like illness since 2015.

The AP reported that a 2016 report by Belleville-based BRiC Partnership estimated plumbing updates at $8 million. That’s far below what officials have said the report listed as the cost.

No one from Veterans’ Affairs, the Public Health Department or the Capital Development Board attended the hearing. CDB hired BRiC. Spokeswoman Leslie Strain says officials want BRiC experts to offer input but couldn’t attend Tuesday.

Spokesmen for Public Health and Veterans’ Affairs both said their agencies’ directors told Cullerton they couldn’t attend but will cooperate and attend a rescheduled meeting.