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Stomach bug cases increase in Washoe

by F.T. Norton
Appeal Staff Writer

Prompted by an increase in cases of reported norovirus in Washoe County, the Carson City Environmental Health Department is warning residents to be extra diligent in protecting themselves from this highly contagious gastrointestinal illness.

“My understanding is there are no laboratory-confirmed cases in Carson City, but Washoe County hospitals have seen a number of them in the past few weeks,” said Dustin Boothe, of the health department.

Norovirus is highly contagious through person-to-person contact; in food and beverages; and on environmental surfaces and objects contaminated with human feces. Norovirus transmits most easily where people congregate in groups, such as child-care facilities, group homes and extended-care facilities, Boothe said.

Illness due to norovirus usually consists of nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, fever and body aches lasting anywhere from 24 to 72 hours, he said. Basic treatment recommendations are rest and fluids. Symptoms can be quite severe in some individuals, requiring hospitalization for rehydration.

Boothe suggests washing hands thoroughly after using the restroom and before eating or handling food for others to protect against the disease.

“When it comes to washing hands, you should use warm water and soap, and continue washing for at least 20 seconds every time after using the restroom, after changing diapers, before preparing or consuming food,” he said. “Parents are reminded to teach their children good hand washing etiquette.”

For information about norovirus visit the CDC Web site at http://www.cdc.gov/ .

n Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.