Norovirus outbreaks - wash your hands

According to officials with Interior Health, an outbreak of Norovirus at Vernon Jubilee Hospital has been declared over.

Senior Medical Health Officer Dr. Andrew Larder, says the outbreak lasted four days and was declared over Thursday morning.

Dr. Larder says four days is not unusual for a Norovirus outbreak.

"There was one particular area that was affected, standard protocol was followed. That was a pretty typical outbreak," says Dr. Larder who wouldn't specify which area was affected since the outbreak is now over.

Dr. Larder says the outbreak at VJH is one of several within the Interior Health Authority region this winter.

"Since the beginning of December we've had five schools report high levels of absenteeism because of vomiting and diarrhea, we've had three acute care facilities affected with an outbreak and we've had five residential care facilities that have had outbreaks," says Dr. Larder.

"This is the time of year we see this. This is absolutely typical."

Although there have been reports that a new strain of Norovirus is circulating, which could result in more people becoming affected, Dr. Larder says the health authority isn't seeing any more cases than they normally would at this time of year.

Dr. Larder says Norovirus is considered to be a mild to moderate illness which whose symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, often a low grade fever, aches and pains.

"What you do not get is respiratory symptoms - you don't get a sore throat, you don't get a cough and you don't get a runny nose."

"The only people that might have more trouble with a Noroviral Gastroenteritis is very small infants and the elderly who don't tolerate getting dehydrated very well."

As with all viruses, Dr. Larder cautions people to wash their hands on a regular basis and keep surfaces clean because the virus can be picked up from contaminated surfaces.

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