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Monday, December 4, 2006

More employees sickened by norovirus at Needham hospital


Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Needham is continuing to fight an outbreak of norovirus, a non-life threatening gastrointestinal bug that can cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal cramping.

Spokeswoman Margaret Pantridge said that as of this afternoon, a total of 41 clinical and administrative employees had called in sick as a result of the virus.

Two patients who had come down with symptoms during unrelated hospital stays were released this weekend, she said.

"We have gotten some questions about whether it is safe for patients to come to the hospital. The risk is very low, but we do recommend that people wash their hands when they come and when they leave," said Pantridge.

The virus can be easily transmitted by person-to-person contact, or contact with infected vomit or bodily wastes, according to health officials. The hospital has been thoroughly disinfected since the outbreak was discovered last Thursday, Pantridge said.

-- Stephanie Siek

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