DANVILLE — The Danville Correctional Center is back to normal operations after more than 100 inmates were sickened, likely by a fungus.
Illinois Department of Corrections Spokesman Tom Shaer said the prison came off lockdown on Sept. 13.
The housing unit with the affected inmates was put on the highest level of lockdown and the entire facility was put on light lockdown to prevent the spread of illness, after several of them started reporting flu-like symptoms in late August.
Shaer said 102 inmates reported symptoms, but no employees were affected.
Officials with the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control believe the inmates contracted histoplasmosis, an infection in the lungs caused by inhaling the spores of a fungus present mostly in soil in certain regions of Illinois.
“The CDC has been on the grounds for a week interviewing inmates and staff, reviewing medical records and inspecting the grounds,” spokeswoman Stacy Solano said Thursday. “They have conducted endemical studies and testing and recommended how we could reduce exposure in the future.”
Solano said CDC officials are expected to wrap up their investigation on Friday.
Officials initially believed the illness was a flu outbreak and later a respiratory virus. The inmates reported fever, headache, sore throat, mild cough and some chest pains with deep breathing.
Early on, health care staff identified that an outbreak was occurring and put quarantine measures and other standard safety precautions into place to try to keep it from spreading.