More than 100 sick with Norovirus at VA Facility in White City

, Posted in Local, Health, Posted: Wed, March 5 2014 at 7:12 PM, Updated: Wed, March 5 2014 at 10:15 PM

White City, Ore. -- 53-year-old Norman Ehrig is one of hundreds who have been sick at the Veterans Rehabilitation Center in White City.

The center houses more than 470 veterans who are getting rehabilitative services.

Ehrig says he started feeling sick Saturday "just kinda feeling tired at first, groggy, which is not normal cause I am pretty active."

Days went by and he wasn't getting better, he said "I got a little queasy, I lost 3 pounds."

He quickly realized he wasn't alone. Nearly 150 people, employees and veterans have been diagnosed with the Norovirus at the facility. Ehrig said "a lot of people are walking around with masks, what I know is more than 100 people have been to outside hospitals."

Sick patients are being asked to stay in their rooms and some public gathering rooms have been closed.

Infection Preventionist Susan Thurston at the VA facility says symptoms start with an upset stomach and nausea and it's highly contagious. She said "you're contagious a day before you get sick, you're contagious for two days after you stop having diarrhea and you can still shed the virus for 2 to 3 weeks after your symptoms are all gone. That is why it is so contagious."

Ehrig says he is finally starting to feel better, but sent a message to others. "A lot of washing your hands, wash your clothes, be careful around people. What I recommend is drink a lot of water."

Thurston says there is no specific medicine to treat people with Norovirus because it is a viral infection, so it's up to you to take precautions. If you do come down with the virus, they recommend drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, as that is the most dangerous symptom from the virus.

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