December 14, 2013 11:43 am
Updated: December 14, 2013 11:44 am

Dozens of staff sick in suspected norovirus outbreak at Kamloops hospital

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Interior Health officials are working to confirm whether a norovirus outbreak is to blame for dozens of staff illnesses at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops.

With at least 36 operating room staff sick, 26 surgeries have been postponed in the past two days.

Officials said the bug spread quickly amongst staff after a Christmas lunch on Tuesday. Food poisoning was ruled out because it typically hits within 10 hours, whereas a bacterial illness takes one or two days to appear.

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Norovirus causes vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain and is transmitted through contaminated food, water and by person-to-person contact.

In November, the same hospital dealt with a C. difficile outbreak that affected a suspected 14 people. During that time, one of the patients with C. difficile died, however the hospital said the death was due to other health issues.

So far no patients have gotten ill and emergency procedures are still going ahead, but officials are urging everyone visiting the hospital to wash their hands when they arrive and leave.

Hospital staff says the weekend will allow time for staff to recover.

With files from Catherine Urquhart 

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