Humboldt General Hospital Shares Facts on Norovirus

The Humboldt County Chamber of Commerce has confirmed that some members of the public may have become ill after attending the annual Harvest Hops & Grapes event on Saturday, October 12.

According to a statement released by the chamber, the Nevada Division of Public Health reviewed the symptoms reported by attendees, which included severe nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. Based on the symptoms, NDPH indicated the illness may have been caused by norovirus.

Humboldt General Hospital Infection Control Nurse Ginger Tanner said norovirus is extremely contagious and is primarily spread via microscopic viral particles that are transferred from contaminated hands to the mouth and then ingested.

In an ill person, millions of particles are present in the stool and vomitus; it only takes a small number of particles to cause illness. This illness is almost always transmitted from person-to-person, but environmental transmission does occur.

Norovirus can persist in the environment and is resistant to most disinfectants; as such, contamination of the environment plays a key role in transmission. The virus can remain infectious on environmental surfaces for many days; in order to control its spread, it is imperative to use EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) approved disinfectants for norovirus.

An individual can acquire food borne norovirus. You may hear norovirus illness called "food poisoning" or "stomach flu." It is not related to the flu, which is a respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. Both healthy and compromised persons can be affected.

Clinical Disease

Viral Shedding

Foodborne Norovirus in the United States

Prevention and Control General Guidelines

Norovirus Vaccine?

Tanner said anyone who has been tested for norovirus and is positive, or who thinks they may have norovirus, needs to stay home until 48-72 hours after their symptoms resolve before returning to work.

After symptoms resolve there is still the opportunity to shed the virus; thus the 48-72 hours to stay home.

For more information, please contact your local physician or visit the Centers for Disease Control website at: http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/about/overview.html.

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