The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) has issued an advisory warning of norovirus gastroenteritis outbreaks statewide. The agency reports that since November 2012, it has investigated 16 reports of gastroenteritis outbreaks in Maine. Norovirus Genotype II was identified as the cause of 8 of the outbreaks.
The advisory provides the following recommendations for healthcare and residential facilities:
Refer to Maine CDC’s norovirus guidance and checklist for long term care facilities. Transmission of norovirus infection to and from patients/residents and staff occurs readily, and cases of gastroenteritis should be reported to infection control professionals as soon as possible. Contact Precautions should be used when caring for diapered or incontinent persons during outbreaks in a facility, and when there is the possibility of splashes that might lead to contamination of clothing. Persons cleaning areas contaminated with vomitus or feces should wear surgical masks. Patients with suspected norovirus may be placed in private rooms or cohorted. Ill staff should not work until 48-72 hours after their symptoms resolve. Increase environmental disinfection to reduce the presence of the virus on surfaces. Health care facilities may consider limiting admissions and discharges, as well as elective procedures until outbreaks subside or until patients can be cohorted.
Source: Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Advisory no. 2013PHADV001, January 3, 2013
It’s norovirus season! Check out our online continuing education norovirus courses offered through Pedagogy, Inc.: Preventing and Managing Norovirus in Healthcare Settings; Norovirus in Long-Term Care Facilities