Norovirus Outbreak at Illinois Nursing Homes Sickens More Than 100

A <"">norovirus has reportedly sickened 129 people at three separate nursing homes, the Chicago Tribune reported. According to health officials, the outbreak has been reported in northern Illinois; officials in McHenry County say the infection has led to the hospitalization of about six nursing home residents, added the Chicago Tribune.

Although health department spokeswoman Debra Quackenbush, said the Chicago Tribune, says nursing home administrators are cooperating, she refused to make public the names of facilities where the virus has been detected.

Mary Lou Ludicky, a nurse who is employed as a communicable disease coordinator in McHenry County, warns that norovirus can be difficult to get under control because it can live for days on areas such as “tables, door knobs, and other surfaces,” the Chicago Tribune wrote.

Norovirus outbreaks occur frequently in closed populations, such as on cruise ship and in nursing homes. Norovirus outbreaks are believed to result mainly from contamination of food by infected workers who don’t properly wash their hands after using the toilet.

Norovirus, which can survive for weeks on surfaces at room temperature, can not only be difficult to eliminate, norovirus can only be killed with chorine bleach. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers and other preparations are not too effective.

Norovirus, a group of viruses that cause gastroenteritis, are not helped with antibiotics. People become infected by eating food or drinking liquids contaminated with norovirus; touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus, and then placing their hand in their mouth; and having direct contact with another person who is infected and showing symptoms.

People may feel very sick and vomit many times a day. Sometimes people are unable to drink enough liquids to replenish the liquids lost due to vomiting and diarrhea and can become dehydrated and require special medical attention.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms also include “diarrhea, and some stomach cramping. Sometimes people also have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. The illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick. In most people the illness is self-limiting, with symptoms” lasting just one or days. Diarrhea tends to afflict children and vomiting is typically found in adults.

The CDC also pointed out that symptoms being within one to two days, but can also start presenting in 12 hours.

Noroviruses are extremely contagious, with stool and vomit being very infectious, said the CDC. People are contagious from when they feel ill to about three days after their symptoms subside; however, the virus can still be active in their vomit or stool for two weeks or more.

Help filing claims and other legal assistance for the victims of norovirus illness is available at <"">

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