Health Officials Investigate Louisiana Casino Where 200 Sick with Norovirus

Tuesday 11th February 2020

The Louisiana Department of Health has confirmed visitors to the L'Auberge Casino in Lake Charles last weekend were sickened by norovirus.

Norovirus, a highly contagious "stomach bug," made over 200 gamblers at Lousiana's L'Auberge Casino violently ill last weekend. Lousiana Department of Health Medical Director Dr. Lacey Cavanaugh said hundreds of self-reported surveys have already confirmed widespread cases of the gastrointestinal illness. The department released a statement, saying:

The Louisiana Department of Health is aware of reported illnesses among visitors to L'Auberge Casino in Lake Charles and are in the process of conducting an investigation. In the event that there is a further threat to the public, we will proceed in a manner to protect the public's health.

The origin of the outbreak is unclear, but Dr. Cavanaugh said that where it began is not their most important concern. "How it started at this point doesn't really matter anymore, because now we are getting transmission within the community," she said.

Containment, rather, is the primary objective. "So, however people picked it up in that setting they are now taking it home and spreading it from one family member to another family member to another family member, so that is the real message that we need to get out today," Cavanaugh concluded.

The Department of Health continues to urge casino visitors who experience symptoms of norovirus to aid the investigation by completing an online survey. Meanwhile, L'Auberge is in damage control mode. "L'Auberge du Lac is aware of reported incidents of a stomach-related illness among a few guests and team members," L'Auberge General Manager Michael Pendergast said in a statement obtained by CNN affiliate KPLC.

"The comfort and safety of our guests and team members is always our paramount concern, and we are cooperating fully with state health officials who are looking into the reports," Pendergast continued. "In the meantime, we have stringent sanitation procedures in place."

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