PENDLETON — An inmate at the Pendleton Correctional Facility who was diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease has died.
The Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) reported three cases of Legionnaires’ disease among inmates at the Pendleton Correctional Facility earlier this week.
Two other probable cases have been identified and all five were hospitalized. IDOC said Thursday the two individuals with probable cases received a negative test result but are not being listed as negative for Legionnaires’ disease due to similar symptoms and possible exposure.
A spokesperson for IDOC released the following statement Friday afternoon:
"The Indiana Department of Correction, in partnership with the Indiana Department of Health and assisted by the Centers for Disease Control, are working diligently to find the source of the contamination within Pendleton Correctional Facility. In addition, multiple steps have been taken, as advised by health officials, to protect staff and the incarcerated population from further exposure."
Legionnaires’ disease is a bacterial lung infection that is spread via aerosolized water droplets, such as mist or steam, and not through person-to-person contact. It is a type of pneumonia that can be treated with antibiotics, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
IDOC is working with the Indiana Department of Health to determine the source. Testing is underway and results could take several days.
Hot water has been turned off and toilets and drinking water are not affected since the bacteria is spread through water droplets that are inhaled.
"Protecting the incarcerated population and staff at the facility is the top priority," Annie Goeller, Chief Communications Officer for the Indiana Department of Correction, said in a news release. "Any other individuals who show symptoms will also be tested and treated as needed."
More information from the CDC is available here.