Author:Sherri Fulmer Moorer

    They gasped.

    “I’m sorry totell you this. Her husband gave us permission to do an autopsy, whichshould be in progress. Due to the fact that so many people havebecome ill with a possible contagion that could pose a threat to thecommunity, the hospital complex is being placed under quarantineuntil a full investigation can be done to determine the possiblecommunicability of this pneumonia to the general public.”

    The room broke outin chatter. Finally, Caitlyn raised her hand. “Officer Richards?”

    "Yes ma’am?”

    “Can I go home? Mydoctor gave me a pneumonia shot during my physical last year. Itshould protect me from this, shouldn’t it?”

    He shook his head.“I’m afraid not. While I’m glad to hear you had that shot, wecan’t be certain you’re fully protected. Some pneumoniaprogresses from a bacterial based infection, like a sinus infectionor bronchitis. That’s what the shot protects you from. Someprogresses from a viral illness, like a cold or the flu. These arecontagious, and in that case none of you are protected. In fact, youmight be in danger just from working in the same environment with thepeople that got sick this week.”

    “Then why not giveus an antibiotic shot and let us go home?” Megan asked. “We’llget it or we won’t. I doubt we’ll go anywhere if we’re thatsick.”

    “That’s anoption we’re exploring,” Officer Richards said. “The doctorsand nurses are opposed to administering antibiotics to perfectlyhealthy people. Antibiotics won’t help if it’s viral based, andif it’s bacterial based and you aren’t symptomatic yet, you runthe risk of making the bacteria resistant to the antibiotic.” Hesat down. “Ladies, I don’t like this any more than you do. Keepin mind that I’m here to protect you. Right now you aren’t sick,and we want to keep it that way. If we can determine that it can beprevented from developing or spreading, we’ll let you go. My job isto secure this office while the Health Department officials completetheir investigation at the hospital.”

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