St. Luke’s warns increase in Norovirus outbreaks in N.C.Published 5:02pm Thursday, February 14, 2013
Health departments across North Carolina have reported norovirus outbreaks in recent weeks, prompting state public health officials to issue an alert.
The state Division of Public Health doesn’t track norovirus, so officials don’t have specific numbers of people sickened by the gastro-intestinal bugs. However, eight counties have reported outbreaks, including Wake, Orange, Alamance and Pitt.
“It’s explosive,” said Lori Rothell, RN, infection preventionist at St. Luke’s Hospital. “It takes only about one to two days after being exposed before you develop diarrhea. It’s highly contagious, by the time you start seeing cases of the norovirus, there could already be an outbreak.”
Rothell said she’s unaware of any patients at St. Luke’s Hospital for norovirus, but she said most people likely would not be hospitalized for the illness. Physicians are most concerned when young children and the elderly contract norovirus, she said.