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Friday, August 28, 2015

Legionnaires' disease case at San Quentin prison prompts shutoff of water

LA TimesWater service at California's San Quentin State Prison has been shut off after one inmate was diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease and dozens of others showed symptoms of the severe form of pneumonia.

California corrections officials said the first case was identified Thursday by doctors at an outside hospital. The stricken inmate remains under treatment. His current condition was not known, said prisons spokeswoman Dana Simas.

"There are currently less than a couple dozen inmates exhibiting symptoms," Simas said Friday. Those prisoners are being tested at outside hospitals to confirm the cause of their illness, she said.

In the meantime, she said, the prison at San Quentin has shut off water within its housing units until the cause of the disease is found. Simas said water is being delivered to the prison by "secondary sources," such as water tanks and bottled water, and portable toilets are being delivered.

The prison was closed Friday to all visitors.

Simas described Legionnaires' disease as a severe form of pneumonia, caused by a bacteria found in water systems.

"Fortunately, Legionnaires is not an infectious disease — it cannot be transmitted person to person. It is transmitted through aerosolized water (such as steam), or inhaling contaminated soil," said Joyce Hayhoe, a spokeswoman for the medical receiver's office that runs prison healthcare in California. continue reading...

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