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Inmate dies of Legionnaires' disease after outbreak at Pendleton facility

A DOC spokesperson said five people have been hospitalized.

PENDLETON, Ind. — Indiana Department of Correction officials said Wednesday an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease has been confirmed among inmates at the Pendleton Correctional Facility.

In a press release, a DOC spokesperson said three cases had been confirmed. In addition, two probable cases were identified. The two probably cases received negative test results but are still being treated as positive, given the compatible symptoms and possible exposure.

All five inmates were hospitalized. On Friday, IDOC said one of the inmates confirmed with the disease had died.

IDOC told 13News it received confirmation of the cases on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 and took immediate action.

Staff is monitoring for any sign of others who may show symptoms.

The spokesperson said protecting the inmate population and staff is "the top priority," and that "appropriate remediation" would take place. Hot water service has been temporarily interrupted inside the facility. Toilets and drinking water are not affected. 

State health officials are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the prison to determine the source of the outbreak. As of Thursday, it was only detected in two units of the facility.

According to the CDC, Legionnaires' disease is a serious type of lung infection. It was discovered after a 1976 outbreak among people who attended an American Legion convention. Those who were affected suffered from a type of pneumonia that eventually became known as Legionnaires’ disease.

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