Newsroom > DHHS News Release

July 26, 2013
Kathie Osterman, Communications and Legislative Services, 402-471-9313,
Precautions Taken at Grand Island Veterans’ Home regarding Bacteria in Water
Lincoln – Due to the finding last month of the Legionella bacteria at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs facility in Grand Island, officials at the Grand Island Veterans’ Home took the precautionary action to have its water tested.  The Grand Island Veterans’ Home (GIVH) is part of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
As found in the federal facility, it was also discovered that the bacteria is in water supplied to GIVH.   The leadership of Grand Island Veterans Home has taken the proper precautions to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all members and staff. 
“There are no known cases of illness due to the Legionella bacteria at this time,” said Alex Willford, administrator of Grand Island Veterans’ Home. “Immediate precautionary steps include shutting off the lawn water sprinkler system until additional testing is completed, along with other measures that will eliminate the bacteria on the GIVH campus in the very near future.”
Water filters are currently being installed to all showers and whirlpool bathing systems, which are the most likely ways a member may come in contact with the bacteria.  There is less than a three percent rate of infection related to the strain of Legionella found.
“The excellent nursing staff and medical physicians on staff at GIVH are closely monitoring our members,” said Dr. Luis Maybit, GIVH Medical Director. 
The disease involves the inhalation of the droplets from a mist or vapor created from a contaminated water supply. Typical signs and symptoms are shortness of breath, high fever, cough, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue and loss of appetite and can result in pneumonia.  The disease is not transmitted from person to person.