Visits at Salmon Creek care center limited to curb illness

By Tom Vogt, Columbian science, military & history reporter

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"No visitors" signs are up at a Salmon Creek care center this weekend after gastrointestinal illness affected a dozen residents.

Clark County Public Health officials also sent a letter Friday to Manor Care Health Services Salmon Creek, 2811 N.E. 139th St., with recommended control measures.

Gastrointestinal outbreaks are not unusual at this time of year, said Dr. Alan Melnick, county health officer. In fact, this is the third such outbreak around Clark County in 2013, he said.

"It is highly contagious in a congregate setting," Melnick said.

Symptoms can include diarrhea and vomiting. Because of the diarrhea and vomiting, "Elderly people can get dehydrated easily," he said.

Control measures include stopping new admissions and transfers to other facilities until the outbreak is over, serving meals in people's rooms instead of in group settings, and following aggressive cleaning and disinfecting guidelines.

The "No visitors" signs should remain up until the outbreak has ended; that's 96 hours after the last onset of symptoms in residents and staff, according to the health department letter.