Suspected norovirus causes IDOC to cancel visiting at women's prison

April 9, 2014 

Weekend visits to inmates at the South Boise Women's Correctional Center have been canceled for the second week in a row because of an apparent outbreak of norovirus, the Idaho Department of Correction announced Wednesday.

The spread of the disease has slowed, officials said, but visiting previously scheduled for April 12 and 13 has been canceled to limit the possibility of further exposure. The first possible case of the virus at the facility was reported April 1, and since then 53 offenders have shown symptoms consistent with norovirus. The latest case was reported on Tuesday.

Norovirus is a common, infectious illness that is sometimes identified as food poisoning, stomach flu or cruise-ship flu. Symptoms include stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.

Staff and inmates have been using bleach to disinfect the facility. Staff are distributing a sports drink to sick inmates to help keep them hydrated, officials said.

No inmates will be moved in or out of the facility until 48 hours after the last sickened inmate reports she is feeling better and no longer experiencing symptoms, officials said.

While the inmates’ symptoms are consistent with norovirus, the cause of the sickness cannot be confirmed until lab tests are completed later this week.

South Boise Women's Correctional Center, located off Pleasant Valley Road in Kuna, is a 284-bed treatment and transition facility for minimum-security female offenders.

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