OTTAWA (CBC) - A hospital in Ottawa has cancelled some surgeries after an
outbreak of a stomach virus.
About 13 patients at the Queensway-Carleton hospital were found to have been
carrying a virus similar to norovirus, said Inez Landry, the hospital's
director of infection control.
Such viruses cause symptoms that include fever, vomiting, cramps and
Landry said the affected Queensway-Carleton patients, who have moderate but
not violent symptoms, have been isolated. That resulted in a shortage of
beds that forced the hospital to cancel some surgeries. Two wards are also
closed to visitors.
The illness typically lasts 48 hours, but symptoms can persist for as long
as 72 hours in elderly patients.
Landry said the virus is making its way through Ottawa right now.
"I know of whole offices that have had staff off sick with this kind of
thing," she said.
The virus is also affecting some daycares. Rose Wright, who works at the
Churchill Carling daycare, said several children have come down with
symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and high temperatures, but there hasn't
yet been a big outbreak. The daycare's two locations serve children aged 18
months to five years and aged five to 10.
Wright said the affected children become whiny and listless. She and other
daycare workers are asking parents to keep the children home if they are
"It'll just make it easier on the daycare and the teachers, 'cause we all
end up with it too," she said with a laugh.
In the meantime, the daycare is taking care to disinfect toys often and
Dr. Nadine Sicard, associate medical officer of health for Ottawa Public
Health, said outbreaks of stomach viruses are typical for this season.
Such viruses are very contagious, but are not transmissible by air. Instead,
they require exposure to vomit or fecal matter.
"It doesn't take a lot of exposure to get it and they tend to mutate often,"
That means people's immune systems need to constantly adapt.
She recommended that to keep from getting the virus, people should wash
their hands after using the washroom, before eating, and frequently when
caring for someone who is sick. If no soap and running water are available,
she recommended using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 70 per cent
For those who contract the illness, she recommended rest and lots of fluids,
which should allow recovery within a few days.