Officials: H1N1 flu virus blamed for outbreak at Putnamville Correctional Facility

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Putnamville Correctional Facility on Jan. 26, 2017

PUTNAMVILLE, Ind. (Jan. 27, 2016) – The virus that killed one inmate and sickened dozens more at Putnamville Correctional Facility is a strain of the flu, officials said Tuesday.

During a news conference, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Mitcheff said inmates contracted the H1N1 virus, which is a strain of swine flu. Thirty-five inmates and five members of the prison staff have shown signs and symptoms of H1N1. They’re being observed at the facility’s health care unit or at Terre Haute Regional Hospital.

Inmates are experiencing flu-like symptoms that have quickly developed into pneumonia in some cases. The inmate who died also became infected with MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus), a type of bacteria that is often resistant to antibiotics.

Prison Superintendent Brian Smith said the facility has taken steps to prevent the spread of the virus, including wiping down common areas and providing masks and hand sanitizer. Some inmates are also taking Tamiflu as a precaution. Inmates are also being encouraged to get a flu shot.

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