DANVILLE — Local pest control companies are fighting a flea infestation — believed to have been caused by raccoons living in the ceiling — in a building on Danville's Veterans Affairs campus, officials told The News-Gazette on Friday.
The structure affected — Building 58 — houses medicine, surgery and the lab at the VA Illiana Health Care System.
The infestation forced officials to move all "urgent" radiology tests off-campus — to Danville's Presence United Samaritans Medical Center, officials said, responding to questions from The News-Gazette in an e-mailed statement.
Also affected, officials said in the statement: imaging/radiology, CAT scans, MRIs and nuclear medicine. Ultrasound tests were temporarily conducted on the fourth floor of Building 58 rather than the infested first floor, as well.
The building's problems were first discovered in July, an official said, after raccoons were found to be living in the ceiling above the first floor. They were apparently let in during a construction project to remodel the building's entrance, VA Illiana public affairs officer Wade Habshey said in the statement.
A live animal pest control company placed traps in that area, and several raccoons were caught and removed, Habshey said. The openings where the raccoons could have been gaining access were closed.
Then, in early August, a flea problem was brought to the attention of VA Illiana administration.
Since then, staff and pest control companies have been conducting flea abatement activities to eradicate the infestation.
"Providing a safe treatment and work environment for our patients and staff is a top priority at VA," the statement said.
The abatement process involves a series of repetitive measures, including re-treatment of the affected area over a period of time, according to the e-mail.
As work continues, the VA's central office has been contacted for consultation.
"VA Illiana Health Care System officials are working hard with their partners to eradicate the flea infestation," the statement said.