Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Norovirus makes rounds in the community

LAKE COUNTY – Lake County's health officer reports that an outbreak of norovirus is winding down in the county.


Dr. Karen Tait said norovirus is a very contagious viral illness.


“We're seeing this viral illness circulating in the community, and that's not too surprising,” Tait said.


The Centers for Disease Control says that noroviruses cause gastroenteritis or what's more commonly known as the stomach flu.


Norovirus symptoms usually include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping, according to the CDC. Other possible symptoms low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and tiredness. The viruses have a quick onset with symptoms lasting one to two days.


Tait said norovirus isn't a reportable illness – usually a more serious illness that could lead to major health emergencies – so the Lake County Health Department doesn't hear about individual cases. However, health facilities must report norovirus.


She said norovirus can survive on surfaces longer than some other viruses, so it can be a challenge to get rid of it. Even if measure are taken to prevent it, norovirus can still be transmitted.


Tait said norovirus can be especially difficult on seniors, who have other health conditions that make their health more fragile. As a result, norovirus can sometimes hospitalize seniors.


For more people it's a short-term illness, said Tait. “Up to about 30 percent of cases may have no symptoms.”


Paul Medlin, administrator of Evergreen Lakeport Healthcare, said the virus has impacted the facility for about a week. Only one patient currently has it.


“We're on the improvement side,” he said.


The recent outbreak is typical, said Tait, and county health officials work together with facilities to contain it.


Tait said she's seen much bigger outbreaks or norovirus in other areas, including an office building full of people with hundreds of people becoming sick at once.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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