The Louisiana Department of Public Health is investigating an outbreak of the norovirus linked to a Lake Charles casino.
As many as 200 people in Calcasieu and Vernon Parishes were sickened after visits to L’Auberge Casino in the last two weeks, according to KIRO-7. No matter the source, the highly contagious gastrointestinal illness is now being spread person-to-person, health officials said.
“People with norovirus can easily spread the illness from the moment they begin experiencing symptoms to several days after they recover,” said Dr. Frank Welch, immunization director for the Louisiana Department of Health. “Some people can continue to spread norovirus for up to three weeks. There are no medications to prevent norovirus, which is why frequent handwashing is your best protection.”
In a statement, the casino referred people to the health department website, adding: “L’Auberge Lake Charles has stringent sanitation procedures in place. In addition, we are reminding guests and team members to regularly wash their hands and take other health safety precautions.”
Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, body aches, fatigue and fever.
People with symptoms are asked to stay home from school or work; wash their hands frequently with soap and water; and disinfect surfaces. People are contagious for up to three weeks after symptoms are gone.