The Louisiana Department of Health has launched an investigation after 200 people contracted Norovirus, an extremely contagious stomach bug, after attending an event at L'Auberge Casino in Lake Charles area in the US.
In a public statement issued, Louisiana Department of Health said: "The Louisiana Department of Health is aware of reported illnesses among visitors to L'Auberge Casino in Lake Charles and are in the process of conducting an investigation. In the event that there is a further threat to the public, we will proceed in a manner to protect the public's health."
What is Norovirus?
The Centers for Disease Control, describes norovirus, though not fatal, as a highly contagious virus that leads to vomiting and diarrhoea. It spreads from either coming in direct contact with an infected person, consuming contaminated food or water, or touching contaminated surfaces.
Dr Frank Welch, Immunization Director at the Louisiana Department of Health, said in a statement: "People with norovirus can easily spread the illness from the moment they begin experiencing symptoms to several days after they recover. There are no medications to prevent norovirus. Washing your hands is your best option for prevention."
According to the CDC, in the US, the norovirus has caused an average of 570–800 deaths, 56,000–71,000 hospitalizations, and 400,000 emergency department visits. Maintaining that the virus arising from Lake Charles is highly contagious, Dr Lacey Cavanaugh, Medical Director for the State Health Office said: "How it started at this point doesn't really matter anymore, because now we are getting transmission within the community. So, however, people picked it up in that setting they are now taking it home and spreading it from one family member to another family member to another family member."
The medical director further added that people who contracted the virus are contagious up to three weeks after they are cured.
Symptoms of Norovirus and prevention
The symptoms of Norovirus started showing up within 24 to 48 hours of being contracted. The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, body aches, a run-down feeling, and mild fever.
According to the CDC, to prevent the spread of virus, people should adopt the following precautions: wash your hands often, rinse fruits and vegetables, cook shellfish thoroughly, stay home when sick and for two days after symptoms stop, and avoid preparing food for others when sick and for two days after symptoms stop.