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Stomach virus hits Nash
A Norovirus outbreak in Nash County has health officials encouraging frequent hand washing.

The gastrointestinal illness had sent between 75 and 100 residents to the emergency room at Nash General Hospital by last Monday. Symptoms of the virus include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramping, and abdominal pain.

"These are very common symptoms, but the number of residents experiencing them over such a short time period is very unusual", says Bill Hill, Health Director with Nash County Health Department.

Nash Health Care Systems is temporarily restricting visiting hours at Nash General Hospital and asking that children under the age of 16 not visit patients. Visitors are also asked to limit their visits to 30 minutes and to wash hands thoroughly and often. "Washing hands is the main thing," said Dawn Wilson, Communications Coordinator for Nash Health Care Systems. "That is still the most effective way of keeping things from spreading."

Wilson added that people who are experiencing symptoms of the virus should not visit patients in the hospital.

Norovirus is passed from one person to another through a fecal/oral contamination. Symptoms usually begin 12-48 hours after contact. The virus typically goes away after 12-60 hours and is not usually life threatening.

"Hand washing is the first line of defense against many communicable diseases and with Norovirus it is important to use soap and water as the hand sanitizer's are not as effective against this particular virus," Hill said.

In Nashville, local nursing homes have put out precautions to residents, workers and visitors. At Nash Grove Manor, there have been some restrictions put forth on visitation but visitors are still allowed at the center.

Autumn Care has put forth similar restrictions and currently has a notice posted that asks visitors showing symptoms of the virus to not have contact with the residents. Both facilities say they have had no outbreaks.

For more information about Norovirus go to http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/revb/gastro/noro-qa.pdf.

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