Foodborne Outbreak Tests Positive for Norovirus

Foodborne Outbreak Tests Positive for Norovirus

Transylvania Public Health has received confirmatory laboratory tests from the N.C. State Laboratory of Public Health. Of those people who were tested by their medical providers, a majority were positive for norovirus. We believe this outbreak was caused by being exposed to this highly-contagious virus in a public place. Although more information is continuing to come in, Transylvania Public Health has received more than 70 cases of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea reported by medical providers, as well as phone calls reporting similar symptoms in more than 200 people since Tuesday, July 31. Norovirus typically causes diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain that lasts for 1 to 3 days. Other symptoms can include fever, headache and body aches. These symptoms and length of illness match closely with the symptoms being reported by those who are ill. People get norovirus from direct contact with an infected person, consuming food or water that has been contaminated with norovirus or touching contaminated surfaces and then putting your unwashed hands in your mouth. It only takes a few virus particles to make someone sick, and those who are ill shed billions of these particles. People are most contagious when they are having symptoms like vomiting and for the first few days after recovering, although they can spread norovirus for two weeks or more after they feel better. Norovirus symptoms usually appear 24-48 hours after being exposed to the virus. Many (but not all) of the people who reported symptoms to us recalled visiting a local restaurant 1-2 days before becoming ill. Other people reported having close contact with someone who had norovirus symptoms prior...
Cleaning Up After Vomiting and Diarrhea

Cleaning Up After Vomiting and Diarrhea

If you or someone in your family has experienced vomiting or diarrhea, here are some cleaning guidelines that can help prevent the spread of disease: 1. Wear gloves when cleaning any vomit or stool. Remove and dispose of gloves carefully to avoid touching outside surfaces. Wash hands with soap and warm water after removing gloves. 2. Clean and disinfect surfaces contaminated with vomit/stool immediately using 1 2/3 cups household bleach per gallon of water or a bleach-based household cleaner. Don’t use undiluted bleach. 3. Immediately remove and wash clothing, towels, or bed linens that may be contaminated with vomit/stool using hot water and detergent. Don’t wash contaminated items with other clothing. If your washer has a sanitizing cycle, use that cycle. 4. Clean and disinfect soiled carpeting. Visible debris should be cleaned using an absorbent material (e.g. double layer paper towels) and discarded in a plastic bag to minimize aerosols. Clean with hot water and detergent and then steam clean (158° F for 5 min or 212° F for 1 min). Dry vacuuming is not...
Outbreak Investigation Ongoing

Outbreak Investigation Ongoing

Transylvania Public Health has received multiple reports of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and are currently investigating this issue. If you have visited the emergency room or another health care provider, they should report your case to us, and you should expect a call from one of our communicable disease nurses.  If you experienced sudden nausea, vomiting and diarrhea in the past 3 days, please contact us at 828-884-3135. If you are experiencing symptoms of foodborne illness, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, here’s what you should do: Wash your hands. Handwashing is the best way to prevent the spread of disease. Wash hands for 30 seconds with soap and running water after visiting the bathroom, before and after preparing food, and after sneezing, coughing, or touching your face. Replace lost fluids and electrolytes to prevent dehydration. If your symptoms are too severe to manage at home, contact your health care provider or visit the emergency room. Stay home! Many foodborne illnesses can still be spread several days after symptoms...
6th Graders: Stay on Track

6th Graders: Stay on Track

Due to a North Carolina law, all students are required to receive the Tdap & MCV vaccines before starting 7th grade or 12 years of age.  Both vaccines will be offered to 6th graders school during the week of April 23. Transylvania Public Health school nurses will administer the vaccines to students who have written parental permission; if you wish to have your child vaccinated at school, please complete the permission form and return it to school. Completed permission forms must be returned by March 29. Your student has received a permission packet at school. Forms are also available here. Students who do not receive the vaccines at school will be required to get them at their doctor’s office or Transylvania Public Health prior to entering 7th...
Beat the Flu

Beat the Flu

Worried about flu? Here are 5 ways to protect yourself: Wash hands. Use soap and warm running water. Scrub all surfaces for as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. Dry with a disposable paper towel. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is okay if you don’t have access to a sink, but hand-washing is best. Hands off. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. That’s how most germs find their way into your body. Cover up. Don’t share your germs! Be sure to cover your coughs and sneezes. It’s best to use your upper arm. If you use your hands or a tissue, be sure to wash your hands (see #1). Stay home. If you don’t feel well, don’t go to work, school, church, or the store. Just stay home and rest so your body can recover (and so you don’t spread whatever you’ve got to everyone else). Get the shot. Believe it or not, it’s not too late to get a flu shot. Even in years when the shot isn’t a great match for the flu strain that’s circulating, it still provides protection against more severe symptoms. And it’s not possible to get flu from the shot because the shot doesn’t contain the full virus. Both regular and high-dose flu shots are still available at Transylvania Public Health: walk in on Fridays from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm, or call 828-884-3135 for an appointment on other...