Norovirus outbreak at Louisiana casino sickens at least 200, prompts investigation
Sunday 9th February 2020
Louisiana's Department of Health confirmed in a statement Thursday that the illnesses reported at L'Auberge Casino in Lake Charles were caused by the norovirus, a gastrointestinal illness that can cause vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain.
The agency's regional medical director Dr. Lacey Cavanaugh said several hundred people attended the casino's most recent events. She said the agency has received at least 200 surveys from people self-reporting virus symptoms.
Cavanaugh said people would be contagious whenever they showed symptoms -- and sometimes up to three weeks after the symptoms are gone.
"How it started at this point doesn't really matter anymore, because now we are getting transmission within the community," she said. "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."
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To stop the spread, officials said people should stay home, wash their hands thoroughly and disinfect areas with bleach-based household cleaners.
The Department of Health said anyone who has become ill with any of the norovirus symptoms should complete a survey online.
The casino declined Fox News' request for comment.
Lake Charles is located in southwestern Louisiana, about 200 miles west of New Orleans.