Norovirus Confirmed in Flathead Valley

By Beacon Staff

The Flathead City-County Health Department has recently seen an increase in gastrointestinal illness caused by norovirus, officials announced this week.

Norovirus causes the majority of gastrointestinal outbreaks in the U.S. and is associated with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea symptoms.
The virus can be easily spread in contaminated food or water and by direct contact between people or with contaminated surfaces.

It only takes a small number of virus particles to cause infection, according to health officials. Someone who has been ill with norovirus, or symptoms to suggest it could be an illness, can take actions to prevent the spread to family, friends, co-workers, and people who may be a risk for complications from this illness.

Health officials urge residents to wash their hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and water, and especially after using the bathroom, changing diapers, caring for someone who is ill, before eating, and before preparing food. Anyone potentially ill should stay home and wait 48-72 hours after symptoms end before visiting a relative or friend who is in the hospital, nursing care facility or assisted living, or must stay at home due to a medical condition. They should also wait two to three days after symptoms end before preparing or sharing food outside the household, such as a group gathering, potluck, or bake sale.