Nursing Home Illness

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Three new cases were reported Monday, and administrators are trying to find out what's causing the vomiting and gastrointestinal distress.

Madison County health officials say some 50 elderly residents and several staff members at the Lake Park Nursing Home had symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea. They say although the elderly are more prone to viruses, this illness has spread beyond the nursing home walls.

Shannon Jacobs said, "It's not uncommon in the community. Elementary schools have had sicknesses. The other nursing homes have had sickness, so it's not uncommon, once again. In that particular population you have everyone together, so it's easy for it to spread.”

Right now health officials are trying to figure out its origin and cause. They're sending out stool samples for further testing.

Shannon Jacobs added, "It's really tough to speculate where it's from because we can't determine whether it's viral or whether it's enteric, and so we'll know that once we have the results of the stool samples."

In the meantime, the health department is recommending workers:
* Wash hands regularly.
* Wash the surfaces of counters or desks.
* Wear gloves when working with patients.
* Limit contact with infected individuals.

They say by taking those necessary precautions, workers will prevent passing the illness to those who are most vulnerable.

The illness runs its course in anywhere from 24-72 hours, and luckily no one has had to be hospitalized. During that time those infected are isolated to try to prevent it from spreading.

Health officials should have the results back by Wednesday or Thursday of this week.