Officials from the federal Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) are investigating four deaths at a VA home for veterans. The deaths appear to be linked to a norovirus that has spread throughout the Minneapolis, Minnesota nursing home this past month.
The Minneapolis Veterans Home first reported a hospitalization of one of its residents with a norovirus on March 7, 2014. Since then, 20 employees of the Veterans Home took days off with a stomach flu-like illness, and four residents of the nursing home have died. Although the deaths of the four residents cannot be definitively linked to the virus at this point, because of the complications that the residents suffered, the VA has announced that it will investigate.
While this outbreak is taking place, the administration of the Veterans Home has called on its staff to wash their hands more often, strictly follow protective new procedures, and ensure that the residents stay in their rooms. Visiting hours and group activities have been cancelled and the residents are eating their meals in their rooms.
A norovirus is a serious illness that causes stomach flu-like symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea. The symptoms can be life threatening if the virus is not treated, and if the patient has existing complications.
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