The News Leader in Staunton, Virginia ran a great article yesterday on the threat viral infections present to the elderly living in nursing homes. Noroviruses are illnesses like the flu…but can be life threatening for the elderly. Symptoms of infection include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and some stomach cramping, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Noroviruses generally spread through contaminated water and foods, although they can also pass from person to person. You may become infected by:
1. Eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus. Shellfish and salad ingredients are most often infected with the viruses. Food other than shellfish may be contaminated by food handlers.
2. Touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus, and then placing your hand in your mouth.
3. Having direct contact with someone who is infected. For example, if you are a caregiver or share foods or utensils with someone who is ill, you may become infected.
Sadly, we have seen numerous cases where nursing homes residents become sick with viral infections and do not receive appropiate medical care and are not isolated from other healthy residents leading to a facility-wide outbreak of illness.