Dec 04, 2018

Legionella Discovered at McHenry, Ill., Senior Community

The waterborne bacteria has sickened three residents with Legionnaires’ disease

Legionella discovered at northwestern Illinois senior community
Legionella discovered at northwestern Illinois senior community

An Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) investigation discovered Legionella bacteria in the plumbing system of McHenry Villa independent senior living community in McHenry, Ill. The investigation began after three residents reported confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease.

The town’s former mayor, Donald Doherty, who lived at the community, died last week and his family said he had contracted Legionnaires’ disease. However, IDPH said that two of the three reported cases of the disease may have been exposed at Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital, as reported by The Northwest Herald.

“Our concern is the health and safety of the McHenry Villa residents,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah. “Because this community is similar to an independently operated apartment  complex, implementation of water use restrictions is not feasible and correction of the violations may not be possible while residents are occupying the building.”

The department sent a notice of violation to McHenry Villa regarding structural issues with the plumbing system, following the investigation. The senior community is working to correct the plumbing issues.

“We take this situations very seriously,” said McHenry Villa Executive Director Noreen Zaio. “Upon learning of the test results, McHenry Villa took immediate action and is implementing a remediation plan as directed by the state.”

This latest Legionnaires’ outbreak comes in the wake of troubles to the south at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy, Ill., where 13 residents died from the disease and more than 60 residents and employees were sickened, resulting in 11 lawsuits against the state for negligence.