Pneumonia outbreak grows in Lynchburg area

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) State health officials say an outbreak of pneumonia cases continues to grow in the Lynchburg area.

A school nurse noticed a large number of students were coming down with pneumonia last month and alerted the Central Virginia Health District, according to district epidemiologist Haley Evans.

Evans told WDBJ7 that an investigation was launched, which included interviews with individuals who were diagnosed with pneumonia. The health department is working with physicians in the area to collect specimen from infected individuals, which will be sent to a state lab to help determine what's causing the pneumonia cases.

Evans said pneumonia is typically a complication of an infection, such as influenza. Individuals who contracted pneumonia during the current outbreak have tested negative for the influenza virus.

"We would like to get an idea of what is causing these cases, so that we can assist our medical care partners with developing treatment guidelines," Evans told WDBJ7 Thursday.

Parents of students at Brookville Middle School received a letter last week, notifying them of a pneumonia outbreak. Evans could not confirm where the pneumonia cases have been identified. She said the cases were first spotted within a local school, but further investigations have revealed pneumonia cases throughout the community.