‘Stomach Flu’ Strikes Over 100 People at Three Nursing Homes in McHenry County


Norovirus — the virus responsible for vomiting, diarrhea and fever — has sickened at least 129 people at three nursing homes in McHenry County.

As of November 22, 2010, the McHenry County Health Department reported an outbreak of norovirus in three facilities providing assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care (also known as long-term care facilities – LTC). The highly contagious illness has caused 129 illnesses with 14 cases confirmed as norovirus.

The viral infection caused the hospitalization of at least 6 people. Symptoms usually last between 24 hours and 48 hours.

Good hygiene practices are important for everyone to prevent the spread of illness. Frequent washing of hands, especially after toileting, before eating and preparing food. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that is 60% alcohol-based to kill viruses. Thorough cleaning and disinfecting of high touch areas (e.g. telephones, railings, tables) using a bleach-based household disinfectant. Immediately removing and washing clothing or linens that may be contaminated with diarrhea or vomit (using hot water and soap).

According to the Centers for Disease control, people infected with norovirus are contagious from the moment they begin feeling ill to at least 3 days after recovery.

Several products with ingredients similar to those in oral rehydration fluids (ORFs) can be used to prevent or treat mild dehydration. These products—called oral rehydration solutions—are sold as pre-mixed fluids. Following is a list of some oral rehydration solutions commonly available in U.S. food and drug stores: Infalyte, Kao Lectrolyte, Naturalyte, Oralyte, and Pedialyte. If you are unsure about which product to use or how to use these pre-mixed fluids, contact your healthcare provider.

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