The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

September 3, 2013

Respiratory virus cause of lockdown

Staff Report
The Commercial-News

---- — DANVILLE — Extensive tests at the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) lab and other medical facilities have determined that the outbreak of a flu-like illness at the Danville Correctional Center has been caused by a respiratory virus, not influenza.

This virus is in the Adenovirus class and while not the flu, causes many similar symptoms. It usually runs its course over several days but is contagious for up to two weeks, the “shedding period.”

Symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat, mild cough and some chest pains with deep breathing. The Danville Correctional Center health care staff identified very early that an outbreak was occurring and appropriate isolation and quarantine techniques were immediately initiated. The quarantine period shall be safe and prolonged: two weeks from the last identified case from Sept. 2.

There are 1,835 inmates at the Danville Correctional Center and strictly limiting the number with the virus has been a focus of staff action. The outbreak is contained in one housing unit and a few affected inmates have been moved to the facility’s infirmary in the Health Care Unit (HCU). Some of the first cases, discovered Wednesday, are already showing signs of improvement. Eight new cases were diagnosed Aug. 31, 10 on Sept. 1 and four cases on Sept. 2. A total of 76 inmates are affected. All are in either housing unit R3 or, in those few cases, the HCU.

The affected housing unit is on Level 1 lockdown and the rest of the prison is on Level 4 (lightest) lockdown. This virus is highly contagious, and as an important precaution no visitors or volunteers can enter the prison and there is no movement between Danville and other IDOC facilities.

Among many measures ordered by Illinois Department of Corrections Medical Director Louis Shicker, MD, who is working closely with IDPH, all units have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Use of surgical masks, gloves and other standard precautions are being practiced by the Danville Correctional Center medical and security staff.

There is no specific treatment for the Adenovirus. Supportive care while allowing the virus to run its course is the recommended approach, which IDOC is aggressively taking.

Doctors and nurses report all inmates who first had symptoms last Wednesday-Saturday continue to show improvements.

The IDOC says it will continue to work closely with IDPH and follow all proper procedures for the care and treatment of inmates and the safety and security of them and the hardworking staff at Danville Correctional Center.