Norovirus infects five seniors at Cowichan Lodge

Acute stomach flu, known as norovirus, has infected five senior residents at Cowichan Lodge, Island Health officials confirmed Wednesday morning.

Currently, no staff have called the workplace call centre to report they are ill with noro-like symptoms, IH's Val Wilson emailed the News Leader Pictorial.

"The outbreak is on the seniors' wing only – there is no noro-like illness on the adult wing.

"All family contacts of residents on the seniors' wing have been contacted and advised of the illness, and have been asked not to visit, if possible, until the outbreak is declared over," she says.

Enhanced cleaning is in place to help prevent the virus' spread.

Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause acute gastroenteritis, also known as stomach flu. This is not influenza or the flu, which is a respiratory infection caused by the influenza virus, Wilson noted.

Norovirus outbreaks strike B.C. communities every year.

Outbreaks are common in long-term care homes, daycare centres, schools, hospitals, and on cruise ships.

The virus can be spread among people if they do not wash their hands, or if someone with the illness handles food, water or ice.

Norovirus can also be found in the vomit and diarrhea of sick people.

Symptoms usually appear within 24 to 48 hours after exposure. Although there is no treatment for this illness, most people recover in two or three days.

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