State Representative Stephanie Kifowit from Oswego proposed legislation on Monday, 1/29/2018, which would, “mandate prompt notification in the event of a future outbreak of an infectious disease” at every Illinois state Veterans home. This bill is clearly being put forward now in response to the Quincy, Illinois Veterans Home outbreak, one which resulted in not only numerous infections but indeed several deaths as well.
This post would certainly seek to promote most measures which would encourage notification and information in regards to any sporadic individual cases or outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease. Notification after the fact, however, should clearly not be seen as the sole step for addressing cases of Legionella in water systems or the contraction of Legionnaires’ disease. Prevention will continue to remain a key policy goal when it comes to Legionnaires’ disease or indeed many other forms of communicable diseases. And as mentioned before, prevention can and should not only be defined as a well designed potable water distribution system plan with regular updates to such a plan to ensure there are no other areas for improvements, but also potentially should include regular improvements and investments so that the water pipes are able to be easily flushed and monitored through testing.
Kifowit’s bill would mandate every state veterans home to, “notify residents and their families in the event of an outbreak of an infectious disease. In the event that two cases are found within a month period, staff at the facility must notify all residents, their next of kin or emergency contacts, and the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and the Illinois Department of Public Health.” This kind of notification system would certainly represent a marked improvement for the state Veteran homes and would “help to ensure future tragedies, like what happened in Quincy, won’t happen to any more of our veterans” according to State Representative Kifowit,who also is a veteran.
With all of this in mind, this post simply seeks to encourage many forms of notification and monitoring for Legionnaires’ disease and as such, is encouraged to see this kind of proactive legislation coming forward. Yet this post would also like to highlight that a good reporting system after an incident should not be seen as enough and certainly preventative measures like those previously discussed not only in this post but in previous posts should continue to be a goal worth pursuing.
Jules Zacher is an attorney in Philadelphia who has tried Legionnaires’ disease cases across the U.S. Please visit LegionnaireLawyer.com again for updates.