Flu shuts down Salem VA Medical Center operating room - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Flu shuts down Salem VA Medical Center operating room

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SALEM, VA - Flu shut down the Salem Veterans Affairs Medical Center operating room earlier this week.

The SVAMC reports 35 staff members have been symptomatic and 13 were positive for Influenza A (H1N1).

The medical center cannot require all staff to get vaccines but it is strongly encouraged and free. The majority of people who got sick in this outbreak did get the flu shot.

It's defined as an outbreak so they had to shut down the operating rooms. They resumed surgeries Wednesday.

The infection control nurse says since they serve an elderly population flu can be more serious.

"They'll also have more co-morbid conditions, respitory illness, copd, those types of things that if they were to get influenza it would be serious and possibly deadly for them," said Charlene Scott, RN, Infection Control.

The operating room suite contains eight operating rooms and 42 procedures were canceled.

"We had no emergency cases during this period of time.  We continue to encourage all Veterans, staff, and residents in the community to receive an annual seasonal flu vaccine as a key measure in prevention," said the statement.

Since this outbreak a total of 73 staff members at the Salem VA Medical Center have been treated, screened or received Tamiflu as a precaution.

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