The Sudbury and District Health Unit has seen an increase of gastrointestinal illness in daycares, and in the community, likely due to Norovirus.
Norovirus is present in the stool and vomit of those infected. It is spread primarily through person-to-person contact, or contamination of food prepared by a person who is currently ill or has been recently ill and did not wash their hands properly.
Symptoms of a Norovirus infection have a sudden onset and can include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, body aches, and sometimes fever. People typically become ill 24 to 48 hours after exposure to the virus, and symptoms usually last from one to two days.
People should also remember that they can continue to spread the virus for up to several days after the symptoms stop.
“Anyone who has symptoms should stay away from vulnerable people and places such as hospitals, long-term care homes and daycares for at least 48 hours after symptoms stop, to avoid spreading the virus,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, medical officer of health, in a release. “Hospital patients and long-term care home residents are particularly at risk due to their potentially weakened immune systems.”
To avoid contracting Norovirus you should wash your hands thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom, before eating or preparing food, as well as prior to entering and leaving a long-term care home, hospital, or daycare.
Do not handle or prepare food for anyone if you are ill or visit anyone in a hospital or long-term care home.
You should also stay home if you are ill and for two days after your symptoms stop.
Carefully clean up vomit and feces, wash or discard anything that was contaminated with vomit or feces, and disinfect all surfaces.
Clean and disinfect washrooms and all common hand contact surfaces if there is someone ill in your home.
For more information about Norovirus visit www.sdhu.com or call the health unit at 705-522-9200, ext. 464.