PENDLETON — An inmate who had a confirmed case of Legionnaire’s disease at Pendleton Correctional Facility has died, state prison officials said.

A spokeswoman for the Indiana Department of Correction said the inmate died Friday morning at the hospital.

“The Indiana Department of Correction, in partnership with the Indiana Department of Health and assisted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are working diligently to find the source of the contamination within Pendleton Correctional Facility,” the state prison system said in a statement. “In addition, multiple steps have been taken, as advised by health officials, to protect staff and the incarcerated population from further exposure.”

State prison officials on Wednesday confirmed the outbreak saying there were three confirmed cases and two additional probable cases identified.

On Thursday, prison officials said the individuals with the two probable cases received a negative test result but are not being listed as negative for Legionnaire’s disease due to their “clinically compatible symptoms and possible exposure to the bacteria.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider it an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease whenever “two or more people are exposed to Legionella in the same place and get sick at about the same time,” according to the CDC website.

Friday’s death of an inmate from a confirmed case of Legionnaire’s disease follows the death of an inmate on Thursday from a suspected case of COVID-19.

Legionnaire’s disease is a bacterial lung infection that is spread via aerosolized water droplets, such as through a mist or steam, and not through person-to-person contact, IDOC said.

Prison officials said any other individuals who exhibit symptoms will also be tested and treated as needed.

IDOC officials said the sickened individuals all reside in two units of the facility.

“Testing continues within the facility to determine the source of the bacteria, and appropriate remediation will be based upon those results,” state prison officials said. “Results could take several days. While awaiting results, IDOC has taken several steps to protect staff and the incarcerated population against exposure.”
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