Friday, December 1, 2006
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Care Center in Needham is being disinfected after an outbreak of a gastrointestinal virus sickened 22 employees and two patients. Caused by a family of germs known as noroviruses, the disease causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps but is not life-threatening.
Hospital officials are unsure of where the virus originated, but Pantridge said that they believe it was spread through person-to-person contact rather than contact with contaminated food, another common means of infection.
Noroviruses are a family of viruses that also includes the Norwalk virus, which is notorious for sickening cruise ship passengers and other people in close quarters.
-- Stephanie V. Siek