By Natasha Bach
November 16, 2018

As the effects of the Camp Fire in Northern California continue to be felt by residents of Butte County and beyond, dozens of the evacuees are now faced with an additional challenge: physical health.

Butte County’s Public Health Department has reported a norovirus outbreak in the area, affecting people at four shelters. More than 140 have reportedly shown symptoms thus far, while 41 are currently experiencing the symptoms.

Symptoms of norovirus include diarrhea, vomiting, other stomach problems, fever, and body aches. The virus is highly contagious and can be spread through contaminated food or water, contaminated surfaces, or having direct contact with someone who has the virus, and thus it is quickly spreading in the makeshift shelters in the Butte County area.

The Sacramento Bee reports that some shelter workers have also been affected, despite their best efforts to separate the sick from the healthy. The CDC recommends thorough hand washing, disinfection of surfaces, and frequent laundry washing. The first cases of norovirus were reported on Wednesday and in the 48 hours since, at least 25 people have been sent to the hospital for medical support.

News of the norovirus outbreak comes as air quality warnings continue to be issued across the Bay Area. Face masks are reportedly selling out and readings were expected to reach the ‘unhealthy’ to ‘very unhealthy’ range on Friday.

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