Throw a dart at a map of the United States and you’ve got a good chance of hitting someplace where a lot of people are suffering from norovirus.   The latest to fall to the virus is the 65-bed inpatient psychiatric unit at Omaha’s Immanuel Medical Center.

The Center won’t be letting anyone else into the psych unit until health workers can control a contagious gastrointestinal virus that sickened people there.   Alegent Health, which operates Immanuel, is trying to figure out how the virus got into the Center.  They acknowledge closing the psych unit to outsiders will make it difficult for some in the community get the the psychiatric treatment they need.

Josh Funk, writing for the Beatrice Daily Sun, reports that:

Nine people are sick, including one adolescent and one nurse. There were 44 patients total in the unit on Tuesday, said hospital spokeswoman Kelly Grinnell.

Alegent’s medical director of infection control, Richard Starlin, said the contagion causes uncontrollable vomiting, severe diarrhea, headaches and fever.

Alegent has not identified the virus, but Starlin said doctors are highly suspicious it is a norovirus.

Funk also recapped some of the recent noriovirus action around the country, including the closure of two hospitals in Greensboro, N.C. last week, and the return of a cruise ship to San Diego with 104 virus-struck passengers on board.

Funk’s story can be found here.