Deschutes Jail inmates, staff recover from norovirus

Outbreak hit Monday, affected 40 inmates, 8 staff members

BEND, Ore. - Forty Deschutes County Jail inmates and eight staff members have recovered from a norovirus outbreak that began Monday, officials said Thursday.

Test results have confirmed the gastrointestinal illness was Norovirus, a very contagious virus perhaps best known for outbreaks that have occurred on cruise ships in recent years. Symptoms can include vomiting, watery diarrhea and stomach pain.

Inmates began experiencing the illness on Monday, said Capt. Shane Nelson. Sheriff's office administrators were notified and immediately contacted county health department.

Working under health department guidelines, Nelson said Tuesday the jail was "taking additional sanitary steps to control the outbreak."

Jail officials said they were told the illness has a duration of about 72 hours.

"Issues with outbreaks such as this are not uncommon in spaces where a large population is put together, such as nursing homes, cruise ships or airplanes," Nelson wrote in Monday's announcement.

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