Norovirus outbreak expands in Corvallis

Norovirus outbreak expands in Corvallis »Play Video
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Ten elderly residents at an assisted-living facility here are among 27 in Corvallis who might have the norovirus illness.

The Benton County Health Department is investigating a suspected outbreak at the facility, called Regency Park Place.

Near the Oregon State University campus, the number of potential cases grew. Twelve members of Delta Gamma sorority also are now ill, up from ten Wednesday afternoon.

Four of the women suffered such intense symptoms, they had to be taken to the hospital and given an IV, health officials said.

Five members of Phi Delta Theta fraternity are also believed to be sick with norovirus.

Vomiting and diarrhea from norovirus, or stomach flu, can cause severe dehydration, especially in elderly people.

"It can be transmitted person to person. It can be transmitted through food or water and it can be airborne," said Bill Emminger of the health department.

The sick individuals at Regency Park Place, which has about 40 residents, have been isolated in their rooms.

"The precautions include closing the dining room, restricting admissions and caregivers are limited to one hall and one area so we don't have cross contamination," said administrator Joanne Gange.

As of Friday, no new cases were reported.

Now healthy fraternity members like John Lidstrom are allowed to return to class.

"Hopefully nobody else in the community gets sick," he said. "That's my biggest concern."

Unfortunately, there's no antibiotic, and getting norovirus once doesn't mean you won't get it again. Plus the virus can live on a surface for a week.

For those exposed, officials recommend using bleach-based cleaners on surfaces and lots of handwashing.