Norwalk :: Norwalk virus outbreak closes Toronto hospital

Bridgepoint Health, a canadian hospital in Toronto’s east end says it will remain closed to visitors and new patients until later this week following an outbreak of the highly contagious Norwalk virus.

According to hospital spokesperson Diane Whidden, nearly 50 staff members and patients have been affected. The Bridgepoint Health hospital has been closed to visitors and new admissions since February 14th, and the Bridgepoint Health hospital hopes to start normal functioning by the end of next week.

Norwalk virus is the prototype virus of the genus Norovirus of the family Caliciviridae. Common names of the illness caused by noroviruses (previously called Norwalk-like viruses) are winter vomiting disease, viral gastroenteritis, acute nonbacterial gastroenteritis, (incorrectly) food poisoning, and (most commonly in American English) stomach flu. The virus can cause symptoms such as stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting in humans, as well as general lethargy and weakness.

The disease is self-limiting, mild, and characterized by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Headache and low-grade fever may occur. Based on volunteer studies the infectious dose has been estimated to be in the range of 10-100 virus particles. Symptoms may persist for several days.

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