The Legionnaires’ case was reported by June Ijana, Deputy Secretary for Communication at the California Department of Veterans Affairs.
The veteran was positively diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease on Wednesday, January 3, 2018. He is being treated at the VA Hospital.
Health officials are still trying to determine if the veteran was infected with Legionella at the Veterans’ Home, a long-term care facility where he was living, or if he was exposed in the outside community.
Legionnaires’ disease occurs when people breathe the Legionella bacteria in tiny droplets of water in the air. Outbreaks are commonly linked to older buildings with complex water systems, fountains, showers, hot tubs, or air-conditioning systems.
Not everyone who breathes Legionella gets sick, but illnesses are more common — and more likely to be deadly — in people over 55 years old, cigarette smokers, and those with underlying health conditions like chronic lung diseases, diabetes, or heart disease.
Unfortunately, many residents of the Veterans’ Home and other long-term care facilities suffer from serious underlying health problems.
There have been several VA-associated outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease in recent years. Nearly a dozen lawsuits were recently filed by the families of 11 veterans who died in 2015 during an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease at the Illinois Veterans’ Home in Quincy, Illinois.
One of the most serious outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease occurred from February 2011 to November 2012. The outbreak at the VA Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania infected 29 people, resulting in 5 deaths.