Norovirus outbreak spreading through Almere hospital
An outbreak of the norovirus has spread further at the Flevoziekenhuis, a hospital located in Almere, with new cases at the gastrointestinal and liver diseases department. Two patients there has tested positive for the viral infection, a third has symptoms consistent with the infection and five employees are also showing symptoms linked to the highly contagious virus, a spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday afternoon. Separately, an unknown number of people who took part in the Roermond City Swim on August 26 were also sickened with norovirus.
Nine patients and eight employees in the cardiology department already tested positive for the virus on Saturday, the hospital said. The nursing area of the cardiology department was temporarily closed to new patients.
All of the sickened patients were placed into a quarantine area. By Monday evening, two of them had recovered and were no longer showing symptoms. All symptomatic hospital employees were told to remain at home until they have been without complaints for at least 24 hours.
The cardiology department was expected to reopen Wednesday morning. No new cases have been discovered there among patients and employees. Once everyone has recovered, the department needed to be thoroughly cleaned before it would be allowed to reopen its doors.
Norovirus outbreak at the Roermond City Swim
Several swimmers and non-swimmers became ill after visiting or participating in the Roermond City Swim on August 26. They probably became infected through contact with a sick person in the immediate vicinity, or by inhaling virus particles, according to a study by the GGD Limburg Noord public health service.
The cause may also be related to contaminated sewage. The results of the study were published on Tuesday. The study was carried out after complaints from participants in the swimming competition about abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and fever.
Most people got sick two days after the swimming event, especially people who swam a longer distance. "Based on the research, it is likely that swimmers in particular became ill because the norovirus was in the bathing water," the GGD said. "It is possible that sewage contents entered the swimming water due to the heavy rain the day before the event. The norovirus has previously caused outbreaks in this way after participation in other events in natural water," the GGD stated.
The Roermond City Swim has been held in the Roer River since 2017, but there were never any health complaints before this year's event.
The norovirus leads to inflammation of the intestines, is very contagious and is sometimes referred to as the “stomach flu.” It is not related to the influenza virus that causes the flu.
The virus is found in the feces and vomit of someone who carries the virus. In most cases, the complaints disappear after one to four days. Complaints include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times