Outbreak at Marion County School is Norovirus
OCALA — The Florida Department of Health in Marion County determined that norovirus is the cause of a recent outbreak of gastrointestinal illness at East Marion Elementary School.
Health officials want residents to be aware of the symptoms of the illness, and take precautions to prevent contracting gastrointestinal illness from norovirus.
The virus is very contagious and can be transmitted person to person, as well as through contaminated water, food or surfaces.
“This is the time of year when norovirus often spreads around our communities,” said Amy Reilly, who supervises communicable disease prevention programs at the Florida Department of Health in Marion County. “Frequent hand-washing, especially before preparing food and after using the toilet or changing a child’s diaper, is the most effective means of preventing the spread of norovirus and other communicable diseases. Other important preventive measures include practicing proper food handling and preparation methods and disinfecting surfaces.”
Norovirus may cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramping. Sometimes people may also have a low-grade fever, chills, muscle aches, headache, and an overall feeling of being tired. Symptoms usually last for 24 to 48 hours.
While there is no treatment for norovirus, it is recommended that infected persons get plenty of rest and consume extra liquids to avoid dehydration. People with symptoms of norovirus should stay home while ill and until at least 24 hours after the last symptoms have passed to avoid the spread of the virus.
Also, people infected with norovirus should not prepare food for others or work in sensitive environments such as child care, schools, food service, or health care facilities while they have symptoms and for at least three days after they have recovered.
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