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WJBD - Local News - 46 Cases of Flu Confirmed at Salem Township Hospital

Salem Township Hospital Film Array Machine. Submitted Photo.

Salem Township Hospital Film Array with Lisa Hanks. Submitted Photo.

46 Cases of Flu Confirmed at Salem Township Hospital

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

There have been 46 cases of Type A and B flu confirmed at Salem Township Hospital since the beginning of December.  Hospital President Stephanie Hilton-Siebert says most of the cases occurred in late December or early this month.  Because of the outbreak, those who come to the hospital or rural health clinic with flu-like symptoms are asked to put a covering over their mouth to try and prevent the spread.  

Hilton-Siebert says a new piece of equipment that arrived this week will allow the hospital through a nasal swab to confirm in an hour if someone is suffering from the flu or something else.   

"It will be able to help identify viruses as well as bacteria, and this is important because currently it's very important to identify the virus or bacteria.  If you have a bacteria, then you need to have an antibiotic prescribed for you.  If it's viral, then the antibiotic is not going to work, and we're trying to prevent any type of bug and any type of organism becoming resistant.  So when you're using antibiotics that you don't need, you're increasing that risk", said Hilton-Siebert.  

Hilton-Siebert says the Film Array will also be able to identify cases of whooping cough which has become a bigger concern in the area.  The closest Film Array before now was at a St. Louis Hospital.  The number of flu cases seen at St. Mary's Hospital in Centralia and Good Samaritan Hospital in Mt. Vernon is not yet available.  

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