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Norovirus outbreak – Visitor and volunteer restrictions in place on 2A medical/surgical unit

 A cluster of norovirus cases has been identified on NHH’s 2A medical/surgical unit. Cases have been identified among both patients and staff.

Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) is working closely with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit to restrict further spread of this highly contagious virus and to communicate information. The following control measures have been put in place to manage the situation and prevent transmission:

NHH remains fully operational, with programs and services across the hospital operating as normal. Please be diligent in practicing appropriate hand hygiene and infection prevention and control practices when visiting the hospital at any time. Frequent hand washing, particularly before and after patient contact, is mandatory and vital to reducing health care associated infections.

Updates will be provided as required. Further information on norovirus is provided below.

Fast facts on norovirus:

What is norovirus?

Norovirus is the term given to a group of viruses that cause gastroenteritis—an illness that usually includes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Noroviruses are commonly found throughout North America and cases tend to be more common at this time of year. They reside in the stool or vomit of infected people. The viruses are very contagious and can spread easily from person to person. The Public Health Agency of Canada reports that people can become infected with the virus in several ways, including: through direct contact with another person who is infected (for example, caring for or diapering an ill child, sharing food or eating utensils with an ill person); touching surfaces or objects contaminated with a norovirus (such as door handles); and eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated.

How long do symptoms last?

People exposed to the virus usually develop symptoms of illness within 24 to 48 hours, but symptoms can occur as quickly as 12 hours after exposure. People infected with a norovirus can be contagious from the moment they start feeling ill to at least three days after they have recovered.

Diagnosis and treatment?

A norovirus is diagnosed through a laboratory test on the stool of an infected person. There is no vaccine or antiviral medication to prevent getting sick with a norovirus and antibiotics are not effective in treating the illness. Healthy people normally recover within one or two days, and symptoms resolve on their own. To prevent dehydration, fluid intake should be increased.

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