Dozens of norovirus cases at East Lansing assisted living facility

Dozens of norovirus cases at East Lansing assisted living facility
Published: May. 2, 2022 at 5:21 PM EDT|Updated: May. 2, 2022 at 5:52 PM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - An outbreak of illness is causing concern Monday at an East Lansing assisted living facility.

Dozens of people have become sick with the norovirus at Burcham Hills. The assisted living facility in East Lansing has about 53 norovirus cases.

Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail said it’s pretty common to have this kind of outbreak in an assisted living facility.

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“Because of people living together in close quarters, often times in the winter time, just flu-like outbreaks happen in those kinds of facilities,” Vail said. “Anything that’s really highly contagious and can spread very quickly.”

Norovirus is often compared to a bad stomach bug. It’s not deadly, but it’s highly contagious and can lead to dehydration.

The most common symptoms are usually more annoying than painful.

“It spreads easily between people,” Vail said. “Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, fever often times. It’s very contagious, usually lasts two-to-three days.”

Bad food handling and bad hygiene practices -- like forgetting to disinfect your work station or wash your hands -- can lead to norovirus outbreaks. Because of that, Burcham Hills closed down their dining room until further notice.

Vail said, “They are basically placing what we call contact isolation so that they don’t necessarily have that much contact with others. They’re going to receive meals in room trays with disposable dining-wear.”

People with active symptoms are isolating for 48 hours. Staff members are required to stay home 72 hours after symptoms have gone away.

There are about 2,500 reported norovirus outbreaks in the US every year.

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