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Kamloops News

Norovirus need-to-knows

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With outbreaks of the Norovirus in Kamloops and elsewhere throughout the province, Interior Health wants residents to take precautions to prevent further spreading.

Interior Health senior medical officer Dr. Andrew Larder says it infects through contact from person to person.

"It's a virus that spreads through the faecal oral route. It is spread by that virus in the stool somehow getting into someone else's mouth."

The virus lasts about 24 to 48 hours with stomach flu-like symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain.

"This is the time of year when we see most cases," Larder said.

He said five schools and six residential care facilities have been hit by the virus throughout Interior Health's jurisdiction. Two cases have been reported in Kamloops, one at the Ridgeview Lodge, the other undisclosed by Larder. He said the most common ways the virus spreads is through contaminated hands, food and environments.

"You have to ingest it basically," he said.

He advised those infected to drink plenty of water and get plenty of rest and to seek medical assistance only if the illness doesn't seem to be following the typical course. B.C. residents can phone HealthLink BC for an over-the-phone nurse at 811.

"Antibiotics won't work on this because it's a virus, and there isn't a vaccine," he said.

To avoid catching the virus, Larder recommends thorough hand washing, avoiding contact with your face when in public areas as well as frequent cleaning. He also said those who have been infected should refrain from contact with others as well as food preparation.

"Most people just have 48 hours of misery then they recover," he said.

— Jessica Wallace

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