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Contagious illness at Springfield nursing home

By Lauren Pozen, Reporter, lpozen@kspr.com
Ben Knaup, Chief Photographer, bknaup@kspr.com
Published On: Feb 27 2014 05:16:36 PM CST

KSPR's Lauren Pozen reports on an illness that's showing up at a Springfield nursing home.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo -

The stomach bug can make you feel bad quickly and is affecting people right now at an assisted living home in Springfield.

Officials at Mercy Villa won't tell us how many are sick, they also won't say exactly what it is. But they think it might be norovirus and it is not just happening there.

"We'll see this sparingly throughout the year, but just from hearing other people talk, there's a lot of gastrointestinal illness going on right now," says Kendra Finley with the Greene-County Health Department.

Like many illnesses, this sickness can either be caused by a virus or bacteria. the symptoms are similar to food poisoning.

"Like nausea, vomiting and a diarrhea type illness," says Finley.

"Some spread very quickly. If you're dealing with a norovirus like illness, it will spread easily and quickly from person to person," says Finley.

It thrives in closed-in areas such as schools, hospitals and dorms.

"You have to be vigilant in making people aware and giving people the tools and some of the basics," says Mike Brothers with Drury University.

There hasn't been an outbreak at Drury, but every dorm and building on campus there are hand sanitizing stations.

"We just want to make sure that the students here are thinking about their health, thinking about hand washing and being considerate of each other," says Brothers.

If students get sick," the nurse practitioner is here that is a great resource who can write prescriptions and really fight some of the basic things that come up often," Brothers explains.

What can can you to do to protect yourself?

"Clean those areas that could be impacted. That will keep you from coming in contact with it at home," says Finley.

Finley says washing your hands is a must. But no matter what you do,"we're exposed to microorganisms everyday. There's a few things you can do to protect yourself, but you don't live in a bubble."

Back at Mercy Villa, people who are sick are being kept away from those who are not. The facility is being cleaned. Visitors are allowed in, but new residents are not right now.

It is still not known right now what type of stomach virus it is. The virus was sent off for testing. Meanwhile, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department is helping Mercy Villa keep it contained.