No norovirus outbreaks in area

Published 5:39 pm Thursday, January 9, 2014

N.C. HEALTH NEWS | CONTRIBUTED UP CLOSE: Norovirus, as seen through a microsceope.

UP CLOSE: Norovirus, as seen through a microsceope.


Although two norovirus outbreaks were reported in North Carolina late last month, Beaufort County seems to be somewhat immune this winter from the gastrointestinal virus.

“We have not seen a lot of norovirus here at the hospital,” wrote Pam Shadle, director of marketing, public relations and development at Vidant Beaufort Hospital, in an email response to an inquiry concerning norovirus cases seen at the hospital.

“I can tell you, at this point, there is no norovirus outbreaks here in Beaufort County that we have been made aware of,” said Vanessa Green, a registered nurse who is the communicable-disease controller with the Beaufort County Health Department. “Norovirus can be an outbreak situation you can find in long-term care facilities or in schools.”

In late December, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services was following 29 cases in Henderson and six cases in Alamance County. State health officials said outbreaks generally occur in buildings where significant numbers of people work closely together. The outbreaks monitored by DHHS occurred in long-term care facilities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta does not keep track of norovirus cases nationwide because it is not a reportable disease, according to Jeanette St. Pierre with the CDC.

Norovirus attacks quickly and strongly, according to health officials. Its main symptoms are nausea and vomiting, which can help distinguish it from influenza. Other symptoms include diarrhea, fatigue, fever, headache chills and stomach cramps. The flu and norovirus can cause body aches, however, flu attacks respiratory systems with symptoms like sore throat and congestion of the lungs.

Norovirus is found in vomit and feces. It can be contracted by direct contact or consuming food/liquirds or touching surfaces that are contaminated. A key factor in preventing norovirus is cleaning any contaminated surface with a bleach-based cleaner and washing one’s hands often with soap and water.

Once norovirus is acquired, there is no medication to treat it, according to health officials.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

email author More by Mike