CA Department of Corrections Investigating Legionella Outbreak in Stockton Facilities

By on April 23, 2019

Legionella, also known as Legionnaires’ disease, has recently been identified at California Health Care Facility (CHCF) and the Northern California Youth Correctional Center (NCYCC) — which includes N.A. Chaderjian and O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facilities — in Stockton. Officials from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), California Correctional Health Care Services, California Department of Public Health and San Joaquin County Public Health are investigating the outbreak.

One inmate from the CHCF passed away at an outside hospital last month and a post-death analysis confirmed Legionnaires’ disease in the patient. Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia that is caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila found in both potable and non-potable water systems. The illness is carried via aerosolized water, such as steam, mist and moisture.

“The safety and security of everyone who lives in, works in or visits our facilities is our top priority. After consulting with local and state public health experts, and out of an abundance of caution, we are taking several steps to address the presence of Legionella in our affected institutions,” said CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz.

Efforts to address the problem at the Stockton-area health and correctional facilities includes discontinuing use of potable water and providing bottled water to staff and inmates. The CDCR is also installing self-filtering showerheads and increasing education regarding Legionella.

In addition to the inmate who passed away in March, one additional inmate has tested positive for Legionnaires’ disease. He is reported to now be in good condition after receiving treatment at the institution. Although visitation programs will remain in effect at the CHCF and the NCYCC, notices have been posted at institutions’ entrances and information on Legionnaires’ disease will be available to visitors. Visitors to the impacted should consider their own personal risk factors prior to assuming the risks associated with visiting, including, but not limited to, a possible increase to their own susceptibility to Legionnaires’ disease.

As of Thursday, there were 29 cases of pneumonia at CHCF that have been tested for Legionnaires’ disease. Twenty-six cases are negative. No additional information has been provided for the three other cases but no cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been reported at NCYCC.