Rockford's Independent Newspaper

Legionella bacteria possibly at Illinois Capitol Complex

SPRINGFIELD — Preliminary test results show the possible presence of Legionella bacteria in the Illinois Capitol Complex’s hot water system and officials have removed aerators and shut off the showers to reduce the possibility of infection.

Officials said Monday they’re not aware of any reports of Legionnaires’ disease related to the water system. Experts at the Illinois Department of Public Health say it is safe for state employees to work at the complex, The State Journal-Register reported.

Deputy Gov. Trey Childress and Mike Wojcik, the secretary of state’s director of physical spaces, notified those who work in the complex of the preliminary test results “out of an abundance of caution.” Legionnaires’ is a severe form of pneumonia caused by water-borne bacteria that can be deadly.

More testing is underway and results are expected in about 14 days.

The Secretary of State’s Office, which oversees the complex, ordered the test after a pipe burst in the nearby Illinois State Armory. The Armory’s hot water system connects to all 14 buildings in the state Capitol complex.

Showers in the complex have been disabled and faucet aerators removed because the bacteria are typically spread by inhaling mist or vapors from a contaminated water source, Secretary of State’s office spokesman Henry Haupt said.

The announcement comes as Illinois lawmakers prepare to meet again next month for a bipartisan hearing about a deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at a western Illinois veterans’ home. Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner stayed at the Illinois Veterans’ Home in Quincy for several days this month and announced that the state would replace the plumbing at the 130-year-old site.

Associated Press

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