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Norovirus 'outbreak' linked to event at Lake Charles casino, state health officials confirm

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, the virus has quickly spread to surrounding parishes.

LAKE CHARLES, La. — An extremely contagious stomach bug known as norovirus has health officials in Louisiana concerned. The state's department of health considers the number of cases in the Lake Charles area an "outbreak."

Investigators from the health department have linked what they believe was the start of the outbreak to an event at L'Auberge Casino, but didn't give a specific date.

KHOU 11 has reached out to the casino's owner for comment.

While a spokesperson for the Louisiana Department of Health says it's unclear how many confirmed cases of the virus have been reported, the health department issues a survey with as many as 200 people self-reported having virus-like symptoms.

Health officials warn norovirus symptoms, which generally occur within 24 to 48 hours of being infected, include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Body aches
  • A run-down feeling
  • Mild fever

Spread to the virus can be prevented by:

  • Staying home from school or work for 24 hours after vomiting and diarrhea have stopped
  • If you are a food handler, stay home from work for 48 hours after symptoms have stopped.
  • Healthcare providers and those who work with children should also stay home for 48 hours after symptoms have stopped.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and warm water, especially after using the toilet or changing diapers, before eating, preparing or handling food and before giving yourself or someone else medicine. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used in addition to, but not in lieu of, washing your hands with soap and water. 
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces and soiled surfaces with bleach-based household cleaners.
  • Wash clothing thoroughly in hot water if it is soiled with diarrhea or vomit:
  • Handle soiled items carefully without agitating them
  • Wear rubber or disposable gloves when handling soiled items and wash hands after
  • Wash the items with detergent and hot water at the maximum available cycle length then machine dry at the highest heat setting.

In a statement warning of the outbreak from the Louisiana Department of Health, immunization director Dr. Frank Welch said, “people with norovirus can easily spread the illness from the moment they begin experiencing symptoms to several days after they recover.”

Dr. Welch added there are no medications to prevent norovirus, saying washing your hands is your best option for prevention.