Health Alert: Norovirus Outbreak

By: WOWT Email
By: WOWT Email

Prevention Tips from DHHS:

  • Have a “sick” bag close by - With norovirus infection, vomiting can happen so quickly that you may be unable to reach the bathroom. If you’re nauseous, find something that can be used to contain the vomit to help control the spread of the virus.
  • Do not prepare food for other people during your illness and for two to three days after getting better.
  • Clean and disinfect any object or surface contaminated by vomiting or diarrhea with a household cleaner containing bleach or with a homemade cleaner made by adding 5-25 tablespoons of bleach to a gallon of water.
  • Wash clothing that may be contaminated with virus after an episode of illness, using hot water and soap.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially before eating and after going to the bathroom or changing diapers.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables and cook shellfish thoroughly - Cook shellfish to 140 degrees or higher.
  • People working in child care centers, schools or nursing homes should pay special attention to children or residents who have symptoms of norovirus. The virus can spread very fast in these types of environments.

It can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Several recent reports of norovirus outbreaks are sparking a warning from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

The outbreaks took place in long-term care facilities, which means norovirus is likely circulating outside the facilities as well.

Health experts say norovirus spreads quickly and easily. In addition to symptoms like diarrhea, it can also cause stomach cramps and fevers.

The infection can be spread in many ways, including:

-People with diarrhea or vomiting handling food.
-Direct contact with an infected person
-Hand-to-mouth transfer after touching contaminated objects.

Illness usually starts 12-48 hours after exposure and lasts one to three days. Those infected should drink lots of fluids.

“Young children and the elderly can become dehydrated more easily and should be watched carefully,” said Dr. Joseph Acierno of DHHS.

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