By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Louisiana state health officials report investigating a norovirus outbreak in the Lake Charles area that appears to be spreading in the Calcasieu and Vernon Parishes.

According to a KHOU 11 report, the outbreak is linked to an event at the L’Auberge Casino in Lake Charles.

Image.Transylvania Public Health

People of all ages can become ill from norovirus as it is easily spread in several ways, including having direct contact with an ill person, such as by caring for them or sharing food or utensils with them; touching contaminated surfaces and then putting your hands in your mouth and consuming contaminated food or water

“People with norovirus can easily spread the illness from the moment they begin experiencing symptoms to several days after they recover,” said Dr. Frank Welch, immunization director for the Louisiana Department of Health. “Some people can continue to spread norovirus for up to three weeks. There are no medications to prevent norovirus, which is why frequent handwashing is your best protection.”

Symptoms, which typically begin 24 to 48 hours after being infected and usually last one to two days, include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, body aches, a run-down feeling and mild fever.

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Take the following steps to prevent spreading the illness:

  • Stay home from school or work for 24 hours after vomiting and diarrhea have stopped.
  • If you are a food handler, stay home from work for 48 hours after symptoms have stopped.
  • Healthcare providers and those who work with children should also stay home for 48 hours after symptoms have stopped.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and warm water, especially after using the toilet or changing diapers, before eating, preparing or handling food and before giving yourself or someone else medicine. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used in addition to, but not in lieu of, washing your hands with soap and water.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces and soiled surfaces with bleach-based household cleaners.
  • Wash clothing thoroughly in hot water if it is soiled with diarrhea or vomit:
    • Handle soiled items carefully without agitating them
    • Wear rubber or disposable gloves when handling soiled items and wash hands after
    • Wash the items with detergent and hot water at the maximum available cycle length then machine dry at the highest heat setting

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