October 20, 2014

Widespread Norovirus Circulating in Colorado

norovirusThe Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is reporting widespread norovirus throughout Colorado. The outbreak is especially bad in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, schools, and day care centers. The virus causes symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.

Alicia Cronquist, who is an epidemiologist for the department, said in a statement, “we believe the illness is being caused by a virus germ called norovirus. This infection is very common this time of year. Symptoms usually last about 1-3 days and can cause dehydration, which can be dangerous for children and elderly people.”

The virus is easily spread to others via direct contact, touching contaminated surfaces, or eating contaminated food. To help reduce the spread of the virus, any child with a stomach illness should be kept at home. Everyone is encouraged to wash their hands frequently. Any ill persons should delay visiting relatives in nursing homes or assisted living facilities until 2 days after the illness is over. In addition, don’t prepare food for others until 48 hours after symptoms have stopped. Don’t share food or drink with other people while you are sick. And always immediately clean areas where someone has been sick with a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water.

For more information on norovirus, visit the CDC web site. And stay well this holiday season!

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