The Ministry of Health has confirmed that Norovirus has been identified as the likely cause of the recent gastroenteritis outbreak at the Geriatric Hospital.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joy St. John, pointed out that this verification followed the analysis of laboratory screening conducted during the outbreak.

While the number of cases at the Geriatric Hospital has substantially diminished, there are still restrictions to visiting and the Day Care facility will remain closed until the situation has been fully resolved.????

Norovirus is the official name for a group of viruses which commonly cause gastroenteritis in population groups. Also referred to as "Norwalk-like" viruses, they are so named because of an outbreak of gastroenteritis in a school in Norwalk, Ohio, in 1968.?? Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach and intestines commonly characterised by nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain.

Dr. St. John explained that "symptoms may also include low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness.?? The illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick.?? In most people the illness is self-limiting, with symptoms lasting for about one or two days," she said.??

If not well managed in the very young, very old, or persons of frail condition, gastroenteritis can lead to dehydration, a potentially serious complication.

The Ministry of Health thanked the public for its cooperation and has apologised for any inconvenience caused by these restrictions.??

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