October 22, 2013 in Ocala News
Florida Health Department officials have sent out special alerts to school, food service and health care workers who may be infected by a recent outbreak of norovirus in Marion County.
Norovirus is the cause of an extremely contagious outbreak of gastrointestinal illness that occurred in the East Marion County school system this month according to the Florida Department of Health. Symptoms of the virus identified at East Marion Elementary School include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramping. Other symptoms may include low-grade fevers, chills, muscle aches, headaches and fatigue. Symptoms last 24 to 48 hours for most people.
“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,” according to Amy Reilly, a supervisor of communicable disease prevention programs at the Florida Department of Health in Marion County.
There is no treatment for norovirus. Health officials recommend infected persons get ample rest and consume extra liquids to avoid dehydration. People with norovirus symptoms are advised to remain at home during illness and until at least one full day after disappearance of symptoms.
Persons showing norovirus symptoms should not prepare food for others and should not work in such sensitive service areas as child care, schools, food service, or health care while symptomatic. Workers with norovirus should wait until at least three days after recovery before returning to work in these areas.