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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Hebrew Rehab outbreak waning

By Stephen Smith, Globe Staff

A wave of gastrointestinal illness that has sickened 430 residents and staff at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Roslindale appears to be waning, Boston's top disease tracker said today.

Since Saturday, fewer than five new cases a day have been diagnosed, an ongoing review by the Boston Public Health Commission shows. Yesterday, for example, only one resident was diagnosed with symptoms of the illness, which is believed to be caused by norovirus.

hebrewrehabnorovirus.jpg

"It's going away, it's clearly going away," said Dr. Anita Barry, Boston's director of communicable disease control.

Hebrew Rehab, she said, has aggressively implemented measures to contain the virus, including more frequent cleaning of bathrooms and other facilities. And because so many people fell ill, the virus simply has fewer susceptible targets, Barry said.

A total of 257 residents and 173 staff members have developed symptoms of norovirus since the outbreak began in February. Virtually all the patients and staff members who were stricken with vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea recovered within a few days.

An 87-year-old resident who developed symptoms of the illness died during the outbreak, but his health was already compromised by other medical problems.

Posted by Karen Weintraub at 05:42 PM
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