The Madison in Sun City West, where an illness sent some residents to the hospital. (Source: Allyson Blair, cbs5az.com)
SUN CITY WEST, AZ (CBS5) -
Norovirus appears to have sickened dozens at a Sun City West retirement community, Maricopa County health officials confirmed Wednesday.
According to the CDC website, norovirus is a very contagious virus that can infect anyone. People can get it from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces.
The virus causes stomach or intestines or both to get inflamed. This leads to stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea.
Mildred Guillot, a resident at The Madison, said she was sick for about a week. It got so bad she had to go to the doctor.
"I just got diarrhea and throwing up. I had to take medicine for it and everything," said Guillot.
Turned out she wasn't alone. Dozens more came down with the illness. Some had to be hospitalized.
Spokesman Brian Fox of The Madison wouldn't say how many fell ill but indicated "a very small percentage" of the community's 200 residents were hospitalized.
The symptoms began appearing April 19, Fox said.
The dining room was shut down and workers began disinfecting the kitchen and common areas. Residents told CBS 5 activities had also been canceled.
Joan Stern has lived at The Madison with her husband for three months.
"They were very up front. We knew what was going on," said Stern.
Since the announcement, Stern said she has been making it a point to wash her hands more often.
"We're just staying in our rooms, ordering our meals in and everything is fine," said Stern.
Families of the residents who were sickened have been notified and staff has been checking on the other members of the community, Fox said.
The owner of the facility, Holiday Retirement, said in a statement shortly after the outbreak, "We will continue to keep a close eye on the matter and work to serve our residents during this difficult time."
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7831 N. Business Park Drive
Tucson, AZ 85743