Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Public Beware--foodborne illness on the loose!

The Norwalk virus is alive and well, and no doubt waiting for me! I had a foodborne diease not so long ago--see blog below. Just the pits! Perhaps it was not, as I thought, a runofthemill food poison. Here's a description:

Norwalk virus infection is an intestinal illness that often occurs in outbreaks.
Norwalk and Norwalk-like viruses are increasingly being recognized as leading causes of foodborne disease in the United States.
The viruses are passed in the stool of infected persons. People get infected by swallowing stool-contaminated food or water. Outbreaks in the United States are often linked to raw oysters.
Infected people usually recover in 2 to 3 days without serious or long-term health effects.
To prevent Norwalk virus infection: 1) wash hands with soap and warm water after toilet visits and before preparing or eating food; 2) cook all shellfish thoroughly before eating; 3) wash raw vegetables before eating; and 4) dispose of sewage in a sanitary manner.

Ain't much worse than what a foodborne disease can to do a body. Unless you wanna talk Eboli bacteria, and I don't thanks! The brave at heart can go here for more details NORWALK http://www.dhpe.org/infect/norwalk.html

And you may as well be aware of this, too:
You may not have heard of Norwalk virus, but your child has probably had it or will have it. It is not a flu virus, but when people speak of the “tummy flu,” they are often referring to a Norwalk virus infection.

What is it?
Norwalk virus was first identified as the cause of an outbreak of gastroenteritis among children at a school in Norwalk, Ohio – and among their teachers and their families.

Norwalk virus is a significant cause of gastroenteritis outbreaks in schools, day-cares, summer camps, restaurants, and cruise ships.

It is also a significant cause of gastroenteritis in the absence of an outbreak.

In addition, Norwalk virus is a significant cause of food poisoning.

Who gets it?
Anyone can get Norwalk virus, from the nursery to the nursing home, but those at highest risk are children under 4.

Outbreaks often occur in settings where there is close contact between many children. The virus is found in stool and on hands and surfaces that have had contact with stool.

Norwalk food poisoning has most often been associated with contaminated ice, water, raw shellfish, salads, sandwiches, and cookies.

The virus is destroyed by cooking, but not by freezing

What are the symptoms?
Diarrhea and vomiting are the hallmark symptoms of Norwalk virus infection. These may be accompanied by fever, headache, muscle aches, abdominal cramps, and generally feeling crummy.

Dreadful disease. And oh so common! Go wash your hands.

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