QUINCY -- The Adams County Health Department encourages residents to develop a rigourous hand washing regimen to reduce the spread of the norovirus.
The precaution is urged in light of an increase in diagnosed and reported cases of acute gastroenteritis.
The norovirus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says is easily spread and that only a few virus particles can make people very ill. The virus causes an inflammation of the stomach or intestines.
Symptoms of the virus are diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, stomach pain, fever, headache and body aches.
While most symptoms typically resolve themselves within one to three days, some people may become dehydrated and need medical attention.
The virus can be spread from person-to-person contact and through foods contaminated by those with the virus.
The department encourages reports of any facilities that have multiple residents, staff or students with diarrhea and vomiting. With suspect norovirus outbreaks, stool specimens can be sent to commercial testing laboratories for analysis.
Health officials also encourage administrators of multiple-resident homes in Quincy to promptly investigate the wellness of staff and to maintain a list of people reporting diarrhea and or vomiting. The list should include onset of symptoms and the duration of the illness.
Employers also are encouraged to not allow staff members, especially those in food service, to work. Employers should make sure all high-volume surface areas and communal spaces be cleaned and disinfected frequently.
Employers should also remind employees to use proper glove and protective equipment on the job.
Those seeking additional information are encouraged to visit the CDC website at cdc.gov/norovirus/index.html. Those wishing to report an outbreak should call the Adams County Health Department at 217-222-8440.