The outbreak struck inmates at the The Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, IL, a maximum security facility for men.
The first victims fell ill Christmas Day, according to local news station CBS 2.
“The Department of Corrections and the Department of Public Health have already started working on outbreak and control efforts,” spokeswoman Melaney Arnold of the Department of Corrections told CBS 2.
Sick inmates have been separated from the others in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
Samples have been collected from patients and are being sent to the state health lab for analysis.
Norovirus is a food and waterborne pathogen transmitted through fecal matter. The virus spreads easily from person to person, especially in enclosed environments such as cruise ships.
Symptoms usually appear 24 to 48 hours after exposure to the virus (but can occur earlier), and include diarrhea, vomiting and nausea and abdominal pain. The illness usually resolves itself within a couple days, although patients should drink liquids to avoid dehydration.
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