HEALTH ALERT: Norovirus, or “Stomach flu” on the rise in South Jersey
Thursday, January 22, 2009
January 15, 2009 Lourdes Health System emergency departments (EDs) in Camden and Willingboro, New Jersey have seen a notable increase in the number of patients presenting with symptoms of the norovirus, an acute stomach ailment. That's according to Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center Emergency Department head, Al Sacchetti, MD.
"Over the past few days, we've definitely been seeing more patients with typical signs of the virus, such as nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and in some cases, dehydration," Dr. Sacchetti says. "Symptoms tend to last anywhere from a day to five days."
The New Jersey State Department of Health and Senior Services has also issued a health alert noting that statewide, the virus is on the rise. The infection is spread primarily through what the state calls "the fecal-oral route, either through direct person-to-person spread, or by consuming food or water contaminated with the virus."
Dr. Sacchetti says, "The best medicine for the virus is prevention. Wash your hands very well with warm, soapy water after you change a diaper or use the bathroom. Other than that, what Grandma says is right: chicken soup, plenty of fluids, rest and a little bit of time and you'll feel better." The state says that waterless hand sanitizers have been shown to be ineffective against this virus.
Lourdes Health System is one of southern New Jersey's leading healthcare providers. The system is comprised of Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, a 410-bed regional referral center located in Camden, Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County, a 249-bed community hospital located in Willingboro and the Lourdes Wellness Center, the area's heart of integrative and wholistic health services. The Lourdes Health System is sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, N.Y., and is a member of Catholic Health East New Jersey, a health system with 33 hospitals on the East Coast.