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Apr-24-2006 20:04printcomments

Benton County Health Officials Advise Precautionary Steps For Suspected Norovirus Outbreak


Photo Courtesy: sciencedaily.com

(CORVALLIS) - An outbreak of diarrhea and vomiting, suspected to be caused by Norovirus, was reported to the Benton County Health Department on Friday.

As of Monday morning, 13 cases were identified. Cases identified so far are connected with North Albany Community Church.

Samples were sent to the Oregon Public Health Laboratory on Monday, and results are expected by Thursday.

All people directly linked to the outbreak have been identified and contacted.

Preventive measures, including cancellation of services and cleaning the facilities, were implemented over the weekend.

The Benton County Health Department Communicable Disease and Environmental Health staff is working with the Oregon Department of Human Services, and Linn County Health Department to address the health issue.

The church has been proactive and cooperative throughout the process officials said.

"Norovirus is the infamous �cruise ship virus,` which has caused a number of high-profile diarrhea outbreaks," said Charlie Fautin, Public Health Division deputy administrator.

"It is a common virus and outbreaks occur when someone who is infected handles food for others."

Hand sanitizers may not be effective against Norovirus.

The Health Department advises anyone with nausea or diarrhea to be vigilant:

Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and especially after using the bathroom and changing a diaper, after coughing and sneezing, and before preparing and eating food Use a bleach solution (14 oz. of bleach to one gallon of water) to clean contaminated surfaces, such as doorknobs, shared tables or countertops Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze because the Norovirus can also be transmitted by airborne matter Cook foods well and wash fruits and vegetables before eating them since transmission can also occur through eating contaminated foods An active role must be taken to prevent the spread of Norovirus.

The illness is usually very brief and lasts no more than a day or two. Most persons recover without treatment.

Symptoms include sudden onset of high rates of vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps. Other symptoms include headache, low-grade fevers, chills, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness.

With diarrhea and vomiting, it is important to stay hydrated with lots of water.

There is no vaccine available to prevent infection.

For more information:
Benton County Health Department: http://www.co.benton.or.us/health/public_health/comm_disease/norwalk.php
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/revb/gastro/norovirus-qa.htm




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