Edmonton Norovirus outbreaks prompt warning

Health officials are alerting Edmontonians of recent outbreaks of Norovirus.

Health officials are warning Edmontonians over recent outbreaks of Norovirus.

In the last two weeks, officials identified 19 suspected outbreaks of the gastrointestinal illness in continuing care facilities, seniors’ residences, schools and child care facilities in the Edmonton area.

Norovirus is a viral infection that occurs throughout the year but is more common in winter.

Symptoms almost always include vomiting and/or diarrhea and may include muscle aches and low-grade fever.

Symptoms usually last only 24 to 48 hours and require no special treatment.

The virus generally causes minor illness but can be debilitating for the very young, the very old or those with weakened immune systems, said Dr. Marcia Johnson, Acting Medical Officer of Health.

"Anyone who is ill, or suspects they might be ill, should refrain from visiting loved ones in seniors’ residences and other facilities, and from preparing food for others."

"Children who are ill with symptoms of Norovirus should stay home from school or daycare until they are feeling better."

The virus can spread quickly through close contact with an infected individual or by eating food prepared by someone who is ill with the infection.