Norovirus outbreak hits DC children’s hospital

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A children’s hospital in Northeast D.C. is being impacted by an outbreak of norovirus, the hospital announced.

The HSC Pediatric Center alerted D.C. health officials that three patients tested positive for the contagious virus this week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says an outbreak of norovirus is defined as an occurrence of two or more similar instances resulting from a common exposure.

A hospital spokeswoman told WTOP that additional patients have been tested, but no new infections of norovirus have been identified in the past 24 hours.

The D.C. Department of Health is running their own lab reports to confirm the outbreak.

“The hospital has implemented protocols to manage the spread of infection based on Centers for Disease Control guidelines,” an HSC Health Care System spokeswoman said. Visitor restrictions are in effect at the hospital.

The most common symptoms of norovirus include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain. Anyone can get infected and get sick with the virus, according to the CDC.

The norovirus can be spread by:

  • Having direct contact with an infected person.
  • Consuming contaminated food or water.
  • Touching contaminated surfaces and putting unwashed hands in your mouth.

The CDC shared the following tips to prevent norovirus:

  • Wash your hands often.
  • Rinse fruits and vegetables.
  • Cook shellfish thoroughly.
  • Stay home when sick and for two days after the symptoms stop.
  • Avoid preparing food for others if you’re sick and for two days after symptoms stop.

Norovirus outbreaks are common and can happen anytime, but most often occur from November to April.

HSC Pediatric Center is a children’s specialty hosptial that serves children from infancy to age 21.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with the hospital’s information.

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