The Southern Nevada Health District has confirmed norovirus as the cause of a recent outbreak which has caused uncomfortable gastrointestinal illness for those affected.
At the end of March attendees of a conference held at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino became ill and there have been other reports of illness throughout Las Vegas.
Although the Southern Nevada Health District has confirmed that norovirus is active in Las Vegas the total amount of confirmed cases is difficult to calculate since many people recover on their own and do not seek medical care. Also, area doctors are not required to report the illness.
Norovirus spreads at places where large groups of people gather. Cruise ships, day care centers, restaurants, hotels, casinos, nursing homes, and other ares where there are groups of people are ideal breeding grounds.
The virus can survive temperature extremes in water and on surfaces.
It can be spread from person to person and by touching contaminated surfaces including food and water.
The first known outbreak of Norovirus was in 1972 in the town of Norwalk, Ohio. Back then it was named the Norwalk virus. After the virus was confirmed in numerous other cities it was renamed to norovirus.
Symptoms usually appear within one to two days after exposure to the virus. People infected with norovirus should stay home while they are ill and for at least three days after their symptoms have ended to ensure they are not still contagious.
Most people recover from norovirus after a few days. Complications can arise and are most often seen in young children and older adults.
The Southern Nevada Health District has prepared a checklist for preventing the spread of norovirus designed for Hotel and Casinos. The training material offers a wealth of information and can be found on the SNHD website.