North Central Health District

COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENTS

UPDATE: NCHD Investigating Norovirus Outbreak in Putnam County

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Putnam County Environmental Health and North Central Health District (NCHD) Epidemiologists are investigating cases of norovirus among people who attended camp at the Rock Eagle 4-H Camp the week of June 19, 2019.

On June 24, NCHD was notified by the Georgia Public Health Lab that samples came back positive for norovirus. At this time, NCHD is collecting information via online survey to aid in their investigation. The survey can be found at NCHD52.org/putnam-gi-survey/.

NCHD Epidemiologist requests each persons that visited the camp between Monday, June 17, and Friday, June 21, even if they did not become ill, complete the survey. All information provided to public health will remain confidential in accordance with HIPAA. Information will be used to try and determine what could have caused illness by comparing activities between those who became sick and those who did not.

Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that causes diarrhea and vomiting. Anyone can get sick from norovirus. Symptoms usually appear 12 hours to two days after the initial exposure to the virus. Most people recover within one to three days. The most common symptoms of norovirus include:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Symptoms of norovirus can lead to dehydration, so it is important to drink plenty of fluids while ill. If symptoms do not disappear within one to three days, contact you doctor or healthcare provider.
Norovirus spreads easily from person to person. People with norovirus can shed billions of infectious norovirus particles via their waste (fecal matter or vomit). A person with norovirus can spread the illness while they are symptomatic up to a few days after symptoms disappear. It only take a few virus particles to make others ill. People can encounter virus particles by:

  • Eating food or drinking liquid contaminated by norovirus.
  • Touching surfaces or objects contaminated by norovirus, then putting your hand/fingers near your mouth.
  • Having direct contact with someone infected with norovirus, including:
    • Handling an ill person’s waste.
    • Sharing an ill person’s food or drink.
    • Sharing and ill person’s utensils.

People can help prevent the spread of norovirus in a variety of ways:

  • If you are not ill:
    • Practice proper hand hygiene. Wash hands with soap and running water before eating, preparing food, etc.
    • If you are caring for someone who is sick, make sure to handle and dispose of waste properly.
    • Wash laundry thoroughly – wash any soiled clothing or linens that may be contaminated.
    • Disinfect surfaces that may be contaminated.
    • Handle and prepare food safely.
  • If you are ill:
    • Stay away from school, work or social activities.
    • Wait at least 48 hours after symptoms disappear before returning to your normal schedule.
    • If you have severe symptoms, or if symptoms do not disappear within three days, contact your doctor or healthcare provider.
    • Do not handle or prepare food for anyone but yourself.

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