Gastrointestinal illness circulating at Rotary Manor

Northern Health has put visiting restrictions in place at Rotary Manor in Dawson Creek, due to a circulating gastrointestinal illness.

To date, the illness has affected more than half of residents (27 in total) and at least five staff members. The illness is a suspected but unconfirmed Norwalk-like virus.

Northern Health is asking friends and family of residents to avoid visiting the facility until further notice. The visiting restrictions will help to limit the spread of the disease.

“This type of illness has already been reported in other areas of the province and we are now seeing it here,” said Dr. Charl Badenhorst, Chief Medical Health Officer. “Samples have been sent to the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control for analysis and we are awaiting results.

“While this kind of disease is usually mild, it is very contagious and can be more serious for elderly people because of the dehydration that often comes with it. Facility staff members are taking extra precautionary measures and are working very hard to isolate those with symptoms to avoid spreading the illness to others.”

Viral gastroenteritis is a common illness. Symptoms can include sudden onset of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, as well as cramping, chills and fever. These symptoms generally last from one to three days. Affected individuals should stay at home and not return to work or school until 48 hours after symptoms have resolved.

Careful handwashing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of disease. People should wash their hands well for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap – after using the washroom and before eating or preparing food.

Infection control measures will remain in place at Rotary Manor until the outbreak is declared over. Northern Health will continue to provide updates on facility visitor access as they become available.

For more information about this or any other health-related issues, please call the BC NurseLine at 1-866-215-4700, or TTY at 1-866-889-4700 for the deaf and hearing-impaired. Registered nurses are available to provide health information and advice at any time. Translation services are available in 130 languages. For information on-line, please visit www.bchealthguide.org