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SCI Albion Officials Report Respiratory Illnesses

ALBION, PA -- Michael Clark, superintendent of the State Correctional Institution (SCI) at Albion, reports that inmates and employees are experiencing an outbreak of a respiratory infection.

"We are taking this situation very seriously," Superintendent Clark said. "We are educating inmates and staff about respiratory infection symptoms, are encouraging inmates and staff to report to medical or their primary care physicians should they exhibit any of them, and we are isolating symptomatic inmates from the general population. While the public is not in any danger, we believe in being proactive."

According to Clark, more than 10 inmates and possibly two employees are showing symptoms associated with a respiratory infection. Symptoms may include nasal congestion and/or discharge, sneezing, sore or scratchy throat, difficulty swallowing, fever, cough, wheezing and shortness of breath. The infection, which is caused by either a virus or bacteria, is spread through direct contact and can last for several days or weeks.

As a result of the illnesses, the Department of Corrections and SCI Albion are working with the Department of Health. The institution is responding to the outbreak by isolating affected inmates to their cells, educating inmates and staff about proper hand-washing techniques and coughing etiquette, using universal precautions and regularly cleaning common areas.

According to health officials, it is common for respiratory infections to be experienced during this time of the year. The course of treatment includes isolation until the individual has been on antibiotics for several days.

"All affected inmates have been treated with antibiotics and have responded well to that treatment," Clark said.

: Susan McNaughton,

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