UPDATED: Norovirus causing stomach flu

Eagle Ridge Hospital in Port Moody is the latest health facility to deal with a new strain of norovirus but officials are warning everyone to take precautions to avoid the stomach flu.

On Monday, Fraser Health reported that a ward was closed to new patients and a rigorous cleaning was taking place to prevent the spread of norovirus. At least three people were sick in the ward with a stomach flu that lasts 24 to 48 hours,

"It's very contagious," warned Tasleem Juma, who explained that the Sydney strain of norovirus is a new one and no one is immune to it which is why it is rampant throughout B.C.

To contain norovirus, staff at ERH are using "enhanced cleaning protocols" which includes twice daily surface cleaning with bleach, as well as the usual hand hygiene.

Tasleem encourages everyone to wash their hand frequently because the norovirus can be picked up from surfaces, as well as coughing and sneezing and from cleaning up vomit.

"It's very unpleasant but it passes within 24 to 48 hours," she said, adding that anyone who experiences the symptoms should stay home, rest and drink fluids, and, if symptoms persist, they should contact their doctor.

Symptoms include vomiting, cramping and diarrhea. "It's a very unpleasant virus to have, but if you do get it, please stay home, get your rest and get well. It should pass 24 to 48 hours, she said, adding, "The best way to control it is to isolate yourself."

School District 43 reported no unusual number of absences due to norovirus.


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