The Dutchess County Department of Health has noted a significant increase in gastrointestinal illnesses within Dutchess County. Symptoms include: vomiting and/or diarrhea (episodes of three or more within a 24 hour period), nausea, malaise or stomach cramps. This outbreak appears to be due to a “Norovirus-like” virus. Norovirus is typically very contagious and persons can become infected by having direct contact with an ill person, eating or drinking contaminated food or liquids, and/or by touching contaminated surfaces and then placing their hand in their mouth.
The DCDOH is recommending the following to help prevent the spread of infection:
- Wash hands thoroughly and frequently especially after going to the bathroom and before handling food
- Use of gloves should be used when cleaning diarrhea and/or vomit (use of masks is recommended when cleaning vomit)
- People who experience symptoms should not attend work or handle food
- Do not share personal items
- Avoid drinking untreated water
- Cook shellfish thoroughly before eating
In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using paper towels, not a mop, when cleaning vomit. The surrounding area should be disinfected with a bleach solution of 1/4 cup of household bleach in a gallon of water.
For more information on Norovirus and how to reduce your risk, please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/revb/gastro/norovirus.htm.