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CAMARILLO : Probe Continues in Hospital Pneumonia

At least 53 people have contracted pneumonia at Camarillo State Hospital since June, and a state physician-epidemiologist is expected to arrive today to investigate, officials said.

The outbreak is believed to be caused by an airborne virus, but testing by the state Department of Health Services is still under way.

So far, 45 patients in the hospital’s developmental center and eight employees have reported sick with pneumonia, said Lanette Castleman of Camarillo State Hospital. Of those, six cases were confirmed over the weekend.

None of the cases have been life-threatening, and ill patients and employees are responding to medication, Castleman said. Symptoms have been mild, including fevers, coughs, aches and pain in taking deep breaths.

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The cases have been reported in three of the hospital’s units--each with about 35 patients. The residents in the three units have been confined to prevent further spread of the disease.

Hospital workers have changed air filters in the ventilation system, and cleaned the units thoroughly, Castleman said. the hospital, including the center for patients with developmental disabilities, has about 850 patients and 1,600 employees.

State health officials are running tests to determine what organism is causing the pneumonia and how it is being spread.


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