AFRH: Norovirus responsible for sickening 62 residents

AFRH: Norovirus responsible for sickening 62 residents

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport reports 15 more residents have been stricken with the gastrointestinal type illness that has now affected some 62 residents.

AFRH public affairs also says testing by the Mississippi Department of Health has confirmed it is the norovirus that infected the residents.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, norovirus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis.

The Armed Forces Retirement Home continues to enact precautionary measures at the facility, including posted notices about the importance of hand washing and sanitation.

Public affairs officials said a total of 62 of the 514 residents reported ill, with symptoms of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The first symptoms of the stomach illness were reported Monday evening.

Nine residents were referred to the hospital, and the remainder received care at the home.

According to retired state health department officer Dr. Robert Travnicek, it's not unusual to see an outbreak of this sort in a retirement home.

"They sometimes call it 'cruise ship illness', and it is around in what we call congregant ships, schools, things like that, where there's a whole bunch of people eating in the same place. It's basically, very, very contagious," said Travnicek.

Travnicek says GI illnesses are a serious concern among the elderly, who could easily get dehydrated and require hospital care.

Copyright 2016 WLOX. All rights reserved.