Norovirus confirmed at local V.A.

According to reports from the Charles George V.A. Medical Center in east Asheville, norovirus cases have been confirmed in several patients in the facility’s Community Living Centers. Noroviruses are “a group of related, single-stranded RNA, non-enveloped viruses that cause acute gastroenteritis in humans,” says the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here’s the press release from the V.A.:

“Several laboratory samples that were taken from patients in the Community Living Center of the Charles George VA Medical Center on Monday have reported positive for the Norovirus. Patients in the Community Living Centers had a sudden onset of vomiting and diarrhea during the weekend.  Samples from affected patients were tested by the NC state lab in Raleigh.  Three out of five samples were positive for the Norovirus. Norovirus is extremely contagious so the VA Medical Center has been taking a number of precautions since the infection was first reported.  Patients who develop symptoms of vomiting or diarrhea are being placed in isolation immediately.

The common areas in the CLC are temporarily closed.  Employees switched hand hygiene practices from alcohol-based foam to frequent hand washing with soap and water.  Caregivers and employees are also wearing appropriate protective equipment.  New research data show that this virus becomes airborne in droplets.  There is no effective treatment for the Norovirus.  Symptoms typically last 48 to 72 hours.

Also, because of the highly contagious nature of the norovirus, the Medical Center is prohibiting visitation in the CLC. Concerned family members of Community Living Center residents may call (828) 298-7911, extension 1-3127 for more information. The Charles George VA Medical Center is committed to providing our nation’s Veterans with the quality health care that they have earned and is making every possible effort to care for the CLC residents while protecting their family members and caregivers.”

ACCORDING TO THE U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
“Noroviruses (genus Norovirus, family Caliciviridae) are a group of related, single-stranded RNA, non-enveloped viruses that cause acute gastroenteritis in humans. The most common symptoms of acute gastroenteritis are diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Norovirus is the official genus name for the group of viruses previously described as “Norwalk-like viruses” (NLV).

Noroviruses spread from person to person, through contaminated food or water, and by touching contaminated surfaces. Norovirus is recognized as the leading cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the United States. Outbreaks can happen to people of all ages and in a variety of settings.”

For more information about noroviruses, go to http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/revb/gastro/norovirus.htm.

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About Margaret Williams
Editor Margaret Williams first wrote for Xpress in 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987 and completed her Masters of Liberal Arts & Sciences from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Follow me @mvwilliams

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