SEATTLE, WA —A Norovirus outbreak at the Cascade Inn retirement center in Vancouver, Washington, has sickened more than 40 residents and workers at the facility, and left two people dead. One resident died late Wednesday, and the other Thursday morning, according to a report by the Associated Press. The facility is under voluntary quarantine.
Norovirus is the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis in the United States, causing an estimated 23 million infections, 50,000 hospitalizations, and 300 deaths among Americans each year. The virus causes severe abdominal cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea. Symptoms generally last for two to three days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 23% of infections occur in nursing home or assisted living facility settings – second only to restaurants or catered events, which represent 36% of outbreaks.
“This is obviously not an isolated incident,” said William Marler, an attorney with Seattle-based Marler Clark, who has represented hundreds of victims of Norovirus outbreaks. “Norovirus outbreaks are prevalent in the winter months, and retirement facility staff should implement stringent precautions to prevent outbreaks from occurring.
“Seniors are a vulnerable population because their immune systems are not as able to fight off infection as those of healthy adults,” Marler continued, noting that three outbreaks in Billings, Montana in recent weeks have sickened over 400 people. Health officials in Billings have reported that at least 200 residents and workers at the Billings Health and Rehabilitation Community, and the Highgate Senior Living facility have become ill with Norovirus. Nearly as many people have become ill with Norovirus after eating at the Billings Golden Corral restaurant.
BACKGROUND: Marler Clark has represented thousands of victims of Norovirus and other bacterial and viral outbreaks. The firm currently represents victims of outbreaks traced to foods served at Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Blimpie’s restaurants in Michigan. Marler Clark represented the estate of a California woman who died after being served Salmonella-contaminated cantaloupe at a retirement facility in 2001. In 2003, the firm represented the estate of a woman who died after being served E. coli-contaminated spinach at a retirement facility near San Mateo, California. Marler Clark currently represents the estate of a woman who died after becoming infected with E. coli at a Bellevue, Washington, assisted living facility.
See the Marler Clark-sponsored web site www.about-norwalk.com.
 See Norovirus: Technical Fact Sheet, available at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd...