A total of 33 residents sought medical attention, some have been admitted for further observation and several have been released and have returned to the facility. In addition to residents, several staff members have fallen ill.
Authorities said the facility is following appropriate sanitation, monitoring and surveillance guidelines. The facility will be kept open under Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines and residents who have been evaluated and discharged from area hospitals are allowed to return to the facility. The facility is restricting visitors until further notice.
Outbreaks of Norovirus infection often occur in closed or semi-closed communities as well as in the general population. Norovirus is rapidly inactivated by sufficient heating and by chlorine-based disinfectants. Hand washing is an effective method to reduce the spread of the norovirus. This type of virus is transmitted by contaminated food or water and by person-to-person contact. The principal symptom, acute gastroenteritis, develops between 24 and 48 hours after exposure and lasts for 24 to 60 hours. Following good personal hygiene practices, such as following the 3C's of Cleaning your hands properly, Covering your cough, and Containing your illness by staying home if you are ill, are key to controlling the of spread of disease.
The St. Clair County Health Department is working with local and state agencies to assess the situation including the origin of the outbreak, eradication procedures, and monitoring for any additional cases. St. Clair County Health Department officials believe this is an isolated incident.