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San Quentin Halts Intake Of Prisoners After Inmate Diagnosed With Legionnaires Disease

SAN QUENTIN (CBS SF) -- Prison officials halted the intake of prisoners at San Quentin Friday after one was diagnosed with Legionnaires disease on Thursday, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

New inmates will probably be sent to the Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy in San Joaquin County, east of Pleasanton, CDCR spokeswoman Dana Simas said.

Like San Quentin, Deuel Vocational Institution is a reception center for the California state prison system, Simas said.

Medical professionals diagnosed the inmate's Legionnaires disease Thursday afternoon, and prison officials initially shut off water at the prison to keep the disease from spreading. Prisoners used portable toilets while the water was off, CDCR officials said.

The disease spreads through aerosolized water, such as steam, mist and moisture, CDCR officials said.

Prison officials said they are limiting water use at the prison now, allowing the use of plumbed toilets and monitoring water used for cooking. The officials said they consulted with local, state and federal experts before allowing prisoners to use the toilets again.

The disease causes a severe form of pneumonia and is found in sources of potable and non-potable water, CDCR officials said.

The ill inmate was taken to a hospital outside of the Bay Area where he is in stable condition, CDCR officials said.

Two other inmates have also been taken to a hospital outside the prison with symptoms of the disease, but doctors have not officially diagnosed either, the officials said.

About 30 other inmates are being watched for symptoms in the prison's medical unit, CDCR officials said.

Water for cooking is being monitored by prison officials, and officials have brought in bottled water and tanks of water for drinking.

Water for the prison normally comes from the Marin County Municipal Water District and is stored in a 3 million gallon tank on prison property.

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