Update on Norovirus Outbeaks
Submitted by Dr. John Carsley, Medical Health Officer
January 3, 2013
There have been several outbreaks of Norovirus infections at VCH facilities, in the community in the VCH region, and at other health authorities over the past few weeks. We are also experiencing some unrelated influenza outbreaks at some sites.
Norovirus, previously known as Norwalk, is a contagious virus that causes gastroenteritis, or, inflammation of the stomach and intestines. Even though Norovirus is often referred to as “stomach flu”, it has nothing to do with influenza, a respiratory illness, and cannot be prevented by vaccination.
What should I do if I develop symptoms?
Ill staff members should not attend work until they have been symptom free for 48 hours (72 hours for food handlers). See the management protocol for details.
How does the virus spread?
Norovirus can be found in the vomit and diarrhea of people who are sick. The virus can survive for a long time on surfaces such as countertops or sink taps if not properly cleaned. People can become ill when they touch these surfaces and then place their hands or fingers in their mouth. Occasionally, the virus may spread through the air when someone vomits.
How can I prevent Norovirus?
For more detailed information about Norovirus visit the HealthLink BC website.
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