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Illnesses probed at Durham retirement home

Posted February 9, 2009

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— The Durham County Environmental Health Division on Monday was investigating an outbreak of gastrointestinal illnesses at a local retirement home, officials said.

A number of residents at the Emerald Pond Retirement Community, off Pickett Road west of U.S. Highway 15-501, have become sick in recent days, and officials were trying to determine whether the illnesses resulted from a virus or food-borne bacteria.

Investigators were collecting stool samples and were distributing questionnaires to residents Monday to begin pinpointing the cause of the outbreak.

“To date, the causes of these illnesses are currently unknown,” Gayle Harris, director of the Durham County Health Department, said in a statement. “However, several outbreaks of norovirus infections have been reported across the state in the past couple of months.”

Viral gastroenteritis, also known as stomach flu, includes the main symptoms of watery diarrhea and vomiting. Sick people might also have headache, fever, and abdominal cramps or stomach ache.

Symptoms usually begin one to two days following infection and could last for one to 10 days, depending on which virus causes the illness. This illness doesn't cause serious long-term consequences in most healthy people, but infants, young children, the elderly and people whose immune systems are compromised are at risk for dehydration from loss of fluids, officials said.


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  • melissaskennedy Feb 9, 2009

    I had this two weekend ago and ended up in the hospital for 3 days, it's pretty bad stuff.

  • LuvLivingInCary Feb 9, 2009

    stock up on toilet paper.

  • 1Moms_View Feb 9, 2009

    A virus like this can run through a LTC facility very quickly. However, hiring people for low pay with little to no experience in facility food prep can also cause gastro problems to run through one. Waiting to see the results of the testing.

  • uncfan89 Feb 9, 2009

    Whoops,should have said Norovirus!

  • uncfan89 Feb 9, 2009

    More than likely it is Norvirus,which is highly contagious and spreads quickly in these facilities.

  • UNCfuturealumi Feb 9, 2009

    My mom is in another nursing home in another county and has just had three days of this. I believe it is just a virus. At least what is going around at here resident.

  • oneday8035 Feb 9, 2009

    My mother is in another retirement home in Durham and has had the same thing for over a month. They are sending her to the hospital for tests on Thursday. This is interesting.