It seems that noroviruses have been up to their old tricks, with presumed outbreaks in all of the usual places, just in the last few days. From causing problems for hospitals and clinics, to eldercare and veterans facilities having to restrict access, to being suspected in school outbreaks, and even causing woes for a hockey team. The investigations are still ongoing for some of these outbreaks and test results to confirm the virus are still pending, but the clinical evidence points to norovirus, and here we present some of the recent news highlights.
Several members and staff of the St. Charles Chill, a hockey team in Missouri, were part of a group of about 40 people who began having norovirus-like symptoms following a charity event at a bowling alley. Three of the players had to miss a game last week because of their illness, and team members were staying home, trying to prevent further spread. The team even resorted to asking their equipment manager to suit up for practices. Local health officials believe someone may have been infected with the virus when they attended the event, and that the source was not food or drink. The bowling alley staff have since disinfected the premises, and tests to confirm the virus are still pending.
A large norovirus outbreak at the Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics for veterans in Oregon appears to be subsiding. People began getting sick on March 1st, and ultimately around 200 patients and staff became sick, some of which had to be treated at local hospitals. Tests confirmed the presence of the virus, and the facility has been thoroughly disinfected. Only one new case was reported over the weekend, while the facility had been essentially closed to prevent spread.
Lastly, the Issac Dickson Elementary School in Asheville, NC seems to be recovering from an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness among the students and staff, which began last Tuesday. Last Friday the school had 143 absences, but most of the students were back in school yesterday. A spokesperson for the city’s schools said the school would continue disinfection for two weeks, and confirmatory test results are expected in the coming days.
Norovirus season typically lasts through April, and the best protection is prevention, for which the CDC has a helpful website.
March 12 UPDATE: Norovirus was confirmed as the cause of the outbreak at the elementary school in Asheville, and there are concerns that the virus has spread to a local high school, based on an increase in absences.