Mystery illness plagues nursing home

(07/28/03) MAMARONECK - Health officials continue to investigate whether a mystery illness is to blame for four deaths at the Sara Neuman nursing home in Mamaroneck.

As many as 37 of the home's 300 patients may have been infected with the unknown virus since the outbreak earlier this month. The home's director Elaine Healy says there is no reason to panic. She says many of the patients have fully recovered and that other nursing homes have had similar experiences.

The state health department confirms that nursing homes have seen an increase in respiratory illnesses. The health department is trying to determine what virus has infected the home's patients.

In the meantime, patients who are ill must stay in their rooms and the staff is not allowed in certain areas of the home. State officials say they should be able to identify the virus within the next week.

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