At least 8 people infected in gastrointestinal illness outbreak at Vernon, B.C., hospital

Interior Health says at least eight people have been infected in a gastrointestinal illness outbreak at Vernon Jubilee Hospital.

Impacted area is limited to in-patient psychiatry unit, no new cases since Monday

At least eight people have become sick in a gastrointestinal illness outbreak at Vernon Jubilee Hospital. (Partnerships B.C.)

Health officials in the North Okanagan are currently dealing with a gastrointestinal illness outbreak at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital in Vernon, B.C.

A spokesperson with Interior Health says the outbreak was declared on Sunday and is currently limited to the hospital's in-patient psychiatry unit.

So far, the outbreak has affected six patients and two staff members, according to Richard Harding, acute health services administrator.

Hospital staff have since closed admissions to the impacted unit and posted signs at hospital entrances.

No new cases since Monday

Gastrointestinal illness can cause a variety of symptoms including nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, muscle aches, headache and fever.

It is spread from person to person through direct or indirect contact with infected stool or vomit. 

Harding said there have been no new cases reported since Monday. 

In order for an outbreak to no longer be declared valid, there must be no new cases reported for 96 hours.

Interior Health said frequent hand-washing is the best defence against the spread of illness.

With files from CBC's Brady Strachan

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Jaimie Kehler

Jaimie Kehler is a web writer, producer and broadcaster based in Kelowna, B.C. She has also worked for CBC News in Toronto and Ottawa. To contact her with a story, email