Suspected norovirus outbreak hits troubled Illinois VA facility

The Illinois Department of Public Health on March 30 reported an outbreak of suspected norovirus among 24 residents of the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy.

As of March 30, the illnesses only occurred among individuals in one building on the IVHQ campus, and all those infected were recovering.

"IDPH has sent staff to IVHQ to inspect the kitchen and gather data on sick individuals and their exposures," said the health department. "IDPH has also provided guidance to IVHQ on addressing the illnesses."

Symptoms of norovirus can include stomach pain, fever, vomiting and diarrhea. The illness can be transmitted via person-to-person contact, or contact with contaminated surfaces and food. Norovirus causes 56,000 to 71,000 hospitalizations and 570 to 800 deaths every year, according to the CDC.

The suspected norovirus outbreak follows three separate outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease at the Quincy facility between 2015 and 2017, which caused 64 infections and 13 deaths. In February, state health officials confirmed four cases of Legionnaires' in the facility. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration has come under fire for its handling of the Legionnaires' risk at the facility.

More articles on infection control: 
Educational efforts do little to boost vaccine adherence, but behavioral incentives help 
CDC: Unusually resistant 'nightmare bacteria' stalk US hospitals 
Miscarriage risk may increase when women have high blood pressure pre-pregnancy

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