December 6, 2002

Norwalk Virus

NEWMARKET - In response to the ongoing Norwalk Virus activity in York Region, York Region Emergency Medical Services advises residents who experience a medical emergency to call 911, as usual.

Norwalk Virus outbreaks have been identified in several York Region facilities. Residents are assured, however, that, in the event of a life-threatening medical emergency, York Region Emergency Medical Services will continue to transport patients to the closest appropriate facility.

"Norwalk Virus is not considered a life threatening virus," said Dr. Helena Jaczek, Commissioner of York Region Health Services and Medical Officer of Health. "It is, however, the most highly contagious of its type and can compromise both patient recovery and care delivery. York Region will continue, during this challenging time, to offer the highest level of Emergency Medical Services to our residents."

"We are carrying on normal operations, despite the Norwalk Virus outbreaks," added Brad Meekin, General Manager of York Region Emergency Medical Services. "We are working closely with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, hospital officials and the York Region Public Health Branch to monitor the situation."

The Norwalk Virus is not a life-threatening condition. The best way to prevent the spread of the virus is by frequent hand washing. The usual symptoms include sudden onset of diarrhea, vomiting, cramps, headache, fever, chills and sore throat. There is no specific treatment available. The best course of action is to get plenty of rest and fluids to prevent dehydration.

The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.  York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities:  Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.  For more information, visit our Web site at:

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

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