Stomach illnesses—such as norovirus—can spread from a variety of sources, including an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by contact with contaminated surfaces. And as another school year begins, facility managers in schools and universities are well aware that their building populations are susceptible to the spread of stomach illnesses.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that each year, norovirus causes about 21 million cases of acute gastroenteritis and contributes to about 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths, mostly among young children and older adults. Each year, it costs about $2 billion in the United States for healthcare and lost productivity from food borne illness caused by norovirus. These concerns have prompted the Healthy Facilities Institute (HFI) and The NEA Health Information Network (NEA HIN) to partner in order to promote NEA HIN’s The Stomach Bug Book – What School Employees Need to Know.
The Stomach Bug Book, a pocket size manual for school employees, explains what administrators need to know in order to minimize health risks from fast spreading stomach illnesses such as norovirus. The booklet breaks down complex information in a quick and easy to use format.
“The Stomach Bug Book provides vital cleaning and hygiene tips to share with co-workers, family, and the school community,” said Allen Rathey, president of HFI. “Due to the quality and utility of this information, we are committed to raising awareness of the availability of this important knowledge tool.”
“It is important that students, teachers, and school personnel (such as custodians, food service workers, bus drivers, and school nurses), understand the importance of hand washing and cleaning during a norovirus—or other—outbreak,” said Jerald L. Newberry, executive director of NEA HIN.