News Releases

San Quentin State Prison Legionnaires’ Disease Case Update

SAN QUENTIN – Administrators at San Quentin State Prison (SQ) continue to restore services to inmates as the institution deals with a number of confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease. Out-of-cell time for inmates will resume; inmate movement has been limited since August 27 to help facilitate an investigation into an outbreak of the disease.

All inmate services such as the law library and dental appointments have resumed as well.

Inmates are still receiving boxed meals and taking showers in portable shower units to avoid exposure to steam or mist that could contain the Legionella bacteria.

Secondary water sources such as bottled water and water tanks will continue to be used for consumption until it is deemed safe to resume normal water use.

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia. It’s caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila carried via aerosolized water, such as steam, mist and moisture. It is not transmitted from person to person and has a normal incubation period from two to 10 days after exposure.

As of Aug. 31, there are six confirmed cases of inmates with Legionnaires’ disease. Five inmates are in outside area hospitals being treated for pneumonia-like symptoms but none are confirmed to have Legionnaires’ disease.

There are 73 inmates under observation for respiratory illness but have not been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease and are being treated at SQ’s on-site medical unit.

Staff at SQ have been sent educational material to inform them of what they should do if they begin to display symptoms. There have not been any confirmed cases of staff with Legionnaires’ disease.

Officials have been in communication with the Men’s Advisory Council, a representative group of inmates who advise and communicate with the Warden and other staff on matters of interest and concern to the inmate general population.

SQ is a reception center for new inmates to the California prison system. Intake has been temporarily halted since Aug. 27 as the investigation continues.

All inmate visiting and volunteer programs have also been halted as the investigation is ongoing.

SQ houses approximately 3,700 inmates, including low-, medium-, and maximum-custody inmates as well as condemned inmates. The prison also has approximately 1,800 employees.

AUGUST 31, 2015
(916) 445-4950