Pneumonia outbreak contributed to 5 deaths at Columbus nursing home, health official says

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COLUMBUS, Nebraska — A quarantine has been lifted at a Columbus nursing home where a respiratory illness contributed to the deaths of five patients.

The Columbus Telegram reports that ( ) the quarantine was imposed June 19 at Golden LivingCenter-Columbus. Health officials say that as of Wednesday, 34 patients and 15 staff members had caught the illness. The home has about 130 patients and 140 employees.

The officials say mycoplasma pneumonia, commonly called "walking pneumonia," was the likely culprit. The disease is not unusual in closed settings, including long-term care facilities, military barracks or schools. Health experts say it is difficult to detect and easily transmittable.

Spokeswoman Kelli Luneborg of the home's corporate parent, Golden LivingCenters, of Plano, Texas, says the home staff is working closely with government health officials.

Information from: Columbus Telegram,

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