County Health Department Warns of Norovirus Increase

Assisted and long-term care facilities have seen an increase in the illnesses associated with the virus

By Beacon Staff

The Flathead City-County Health Department is warning residents of a recent spate of Norovirus-related gastrointestinal illnesses.

Assisted and long-term care facilities have seen an increase in the illnesses associated with the virus, the health department reported.

Norovirus is a group of viruses that cause the majority of gastrointestinal-illness outbreaks in the U.S. Its symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Norovirus is easily spread through contaminated food or water, or direct contact between people or contaminated surfaces.

Only a few particles of the virus are required for infection, and anyone who has been sick with Norovirus illnesses should take the following suggestions to heart.

In order to prevent a very contagious virus from spreading further, the Health Department recommends:

  • Wash 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.

  • Stay home when ill with symptoms and at least 2 to 3 days after symptoms go away..

  • Wait 48-72 hours (2 to 3 days) 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.

  • Wait 48-72 hours (2 to 3 days) after symptoms end before preparing or sharing food outside the household, such as a group gathering, potluck, or bake sale.

  • Wait 48-72 hours (2-3 days) after symptoms end before returning to normal work duties especially for food handlers, health care workers, or day care workers. Notify supervisors or employee health at workplace of illness.

  • Clean surfaces prone to being touched with an appropriate cleaner with bleach or bleach solution. (see FCCHD website for more information regarding cleaning and sanitizing)

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