Norovirus was confirmed on Friday, March 22 by Clatsop County Public Health as the cause of an increased rate of acute gastrointestinal illness occurring at an Astoria care facility. Public Health has been working with the facility on measures to control the spread of the illness.
In addition to other control measures, the Oregon Public Health Division requires facilities to discontinue admissions or transfers during an outbreak until patients are symptom free for 48 hours. As of Thursday, March 28 the outbreak is considered over.
To help stop the spread of norovirus in the community, Clatsop County Public Health would like to remind everyone that noroviruses are highly contagious, spread rapidly and outbreaks are common due to the ease of transmission. People with norovirus are contagious from the moment they begin feeling ill to at least three days and perhaps for as long as 2 weeks after recovery, making control of this disease even more difficult.
It is Oregon law that employees of food services, health care facilities and day care centers who have symptoms of vomiting and/or diarrhea be furloughed from work during time of communicability. That is 24 hours after the last symptom has stopped, and if the illness is diagnosed as norovirus a 48-hour furlough is required.
Public Health encourages anyone with sudden onset of vomiting and/or diarrhea to stay home, wash their hands often with soap and water and not prepare food for others until symptom-free for 24 hours, according to Maureen Taylor, Environmental Health Specialist.
Additional information on noroviruses can be obtained at http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/index.html