Norovirus 2016 outbreak update: Stomach flue affects Oregon State University and Brockton homeless shelter.
Oregon State University and Benton County health officials are working together on a recent norovirus outbreak, which affected the school. The outbreak began on March 30, 2016 and has grown to affect nearly 60 students. Majority of those affected by norovirus live in residence halls.
Testing is still underway to confirm norovirus, but symptoms experienced are similar to that of norovirus, consisting of vomiting, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea. So far, health officials cannot narrow down the specific food nor location where norovirus could have originated, but they do stress it is highly contagious and can be passed on by being in close proximity with an infected person, living in close quarters, or touching objects that could have the virus on their surface.
The outbreak is still considered quite small, so class or school closures are not yet necessary.
Jenny Haubenreiser, executive director of OSU Student Health Services, said, “The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our top priority. We continue to closely monitor the situation and are meeting regularly with county health officials. With everyone’s cooperation, we hope this situation will be contained in the near future.”
Students are being advised to utilize proper hand washing techniques and avoid sharing items or food to minimize the transmission of norovirus.
The school is working hard in all their efforts to contain the virus by sanitizing work areas, dorms, and dining halls.
Solvang resort closes temporarily due to norovirus outbreak
Alisal Guest Ranch in Solvang temporarily closed for 72 hours in response to a norovirus outbreak, causing staff to conduct a thorough sanitization of the facility. There has yet to be any hospitalizations as a result of the outbreak, but a number of guests experienced symptoms related to norovirus.
Investigators and health officials have been unable to uncover the source of the outbreak that started a week ago when some guests were complaining about gastrointestinal symptoms.
Santa Barbara County’s Environmental Health Services Director Larry Fay said, “The nature of the symptoms, the duration of the illness, we strongly suspected they were experiencing a norovirus outbreak.”
“We don’t normally report outbreaks in process in a facility in particular while it’s under investigation. And in this case, since Alisal and the nature of their operations, it’s relatively confined, and they made the decision to go ahead and close, we opted not to do a public notification,” added Fay.
Norovirus outbreak at Brockton homeless shelter
So far, four homeless people have been stricken with gastrointestinal symptoms related to norovirus. Along with norovirus, the Brockton homeless shelter is also dealing with a bedbug problem.
Health officials advise that the shelter is currently underway completing cleaning procedures and sanitization. John Yazwinski, executive director of Father Bill’s & MainSpring, commented, “When you’re dealing with so many people in need of shelter, you have these types of health issues come up. I feel for the people. The place to recover from something like this should not be in a shelter.”
Along with being treated for norovirus, the shelter is cleaning the beds as well, as two of them were discovered to have bedbugs.
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