While itís already made an appearance in the Capital Health Region, Norovirus has yet to strike the Aspen Health Region.
Ed Moore
Leader staff
Tuesday December 27, 2005

Norovirus, formerly known as Norwalk, is a gastrointestinal malady, which usually strikes facilities where large amounts of people are housed, such as continuing care homes, seniorsí residences and schools. It can also occur at social gatherings such as weddings.

ìItís an issue thatís coming more to the forefront with group living situations,î said Aspen Medical Officer of Health Dave Johnson.

The viral infection is more common in the winter months but it can strike any time of the year.

Norovirus can be debilitating for the very young and very old or those with weakened immune systems.

Those who suspect they have it should stay away from nursing home facilities,
seniorsí lodges and hospitals and should not be preparing foods.

Diarrhea is one of the main symptoms of Norovirus and should be handled with extreme care, even after the discomfort has passed, said Johnson.

ìThose people that have diarrhea should avoid swimming pools for two weeks after.î

One of the best ways to protect against Norovirus and all other viruses is through frequent handwashing, especially after bathroom use.
This is also a good practice after handling soiled laundry, caring for a sick person and before handling food.

ìWashing your hands breaks the chain of transmission,î said Johnson.

Vomiting, muscle aches and a low grade fever are other symptoms of Norovirus.
Washing kitchen and laundry countertops is also a good precaution when it comes to preventing the spread of the virus. Thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables is also recommended as a good way to reduce your chances of contracting the condition.

There is no treatment for the virus, as antibiotics are made to fight bacteria, not viruses. Itís recommended those affected drink plenty of fluids in order to avoid dehydration.