POUGHKEEPSIE – The Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health (DBCH) has received reports of several clusters of norovirus cases in Dutchess County.
“Norovirus is a very contagious virus that can easily infect anyone,” said A. K. Vaidian, MD, MPH, Commissioner. “It is easily spread through contact with people, food, water, or surfaces.”
DBCH advises clinicians to consider norovirus for patients who exhibit:
- Acute-onset of vomiting
- Watery, non-bloody diarrhea with abdominal cramps
- Low-grade fever, headaches, and body aches.
As noroviruses are easily spread, DBCH recommends routine cleaning and disinfecting of surface areas, especially high contact areas such as door knobs, keyboards, and phones as the virus can remain on surfaces for weeks.
- With a wet time of 10 minutes, use a chlorine bleach solution, 5 tablespoons of household bleach per gallon of water or other disinfectant registered as effective against norovirus by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- Items used to clean up vomit and diarrhea should either be disposed of immediately or thoroughly cleaned and soaked in the bleach solution for 10 minutes before using again.
Remind patients who may be experiencing norovirus symptoms of the following:
- Do not prepare food or care for others who are sick. Avoid contact with others at least 72 hours after symptoms have stopped, especially if the patient attends or works in a school, daycare, healthcare, nursing home, or food service industry.
- Practice proper handwashing: Wash hands carefully and thoroughly especially after using the toilet or changing diapers. Always wash hands before eating or handling food.
- Immediately launder any soiled items in the longest wash cycle possible and machine dry.
- Use caution and wear rubber gloves or disposable gloves when handling items.
For patient information, feel free to share the Norovirus Illness: Key Facts flyer at https://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/downloads/keyfacts.pdf
Contact the DBCH Communicable Disease Control Division at (845) 486-3402 if you have any questions regarding norovirus.