California wildfire evacuees face the misery of norovirus

29th of November 2018
California wildfire evacuees face the misery of norovirus

More than 120 people forced to flee the deadly California wildfires are now battling the norovirus to add to their woes.

Sick evacuees are being housed in separate shelters and active monitoring of all shelter residents is being carried out. Meanwhile, separate washrooms are being allocated to the ill and protective equipment is being supplied to medical staff.

Outbreaks of the norovirus is not uncommon in situations where hundreds of people live in close quarters, says public information officer for Butte County Public Health Lisa Almaguer. The health department is working with the Red Cross plus state and federal partners to reduce the spread of the illness.

One evacuee claims to have seen someone "puking into a toilet", adding that health officials were urging all evacuees to wash their hands repeatedly, avoid handshakes and to use hand sanitiser before eating.

The norovirus can be spread through contaminated food or water, via surfaces or through direct contact with an infected person. The Centers for Disease Control is urging people to wash their hands thoroughly -particularly during and after being ill - and to disinfect hard surfaces, wash laundry and avoid direct contact with those who are still contagious.

The wildfires blazes, which began earlier this month, have claimed at least 86 lives and lain waste to an area of nearly 400 square miles, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The entire town of Paradise in the Sierra Nevada foothills has virtually been decimated while the number of people missing or unaccounted for in Butte County still exceeds 500.



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